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Brian: We're in the mix

25 February 2013

McDermott on the final 11

Brian McDermott admitted his team were well below par against Wigan on Saturday, but with 11 games to go there are plenty of opportunities to redeem themselves and close the one point gap between us and safety.

Our turnaround in the second half of the season has been remarkable - after 18 games we only had one win and nine points, but in the last nine matches the players have picked 14 points to give themselves a real chance.

That form may not fully temper the disappointment of losing at home on Saturday, but it does of course give us continued faith going forward. Brian said, "We're in the battle. I think a lot of people would have written us off, both at the start of the season and around Christmas time and said we'd be adrift. But we're not, we are right in amongst it."

We have home fixtures against three of the teams around us before now and the end of the season, but Brian sees every game as important, not just those matches. "I don't think [they're any more important] and I can't look at things like that. Saturday was said to be a key one, but all I'll say is that Wigan won't stay up with 24 points. We've just got to do whatever we can in every game and prepare right for Everton.

"I don't have worries about any results playing on people's minds, I never get worried about a win playing on people's minds for example! My philosophy is just to get going again on a Monday morning. There is no alternative to that.

"As for Saturday, you have to hold your hands up sometimes and it was a difficult day, Wigan deserved to win. We've had a lot of good ones at Madejski Stadium, our home record has been phenomenal but this was difficult."

With Pavel Pogrebnyak now suspended for three games, Brian was asked about his striking options, saying, "I've got Adam Le Fondre and Noel Hunt, that's good news for us. Jason [Roberts] is not ready. Adam's a great lad, he's a good player, he can hold it up so if he starts it'll be great for us."

At the other end of the pitch Adam Federici was again in fine form and named man of the match. Brian said, "He made some great saves, I was delighted for him. He did the same at United on Monday night."

Lastly, Brian gave an update when asked about his squad selections. "Danny Guthrie wasn't selected for the squad. He [also] didn't train on Saturday morning with a slight calf problem.

"Hope came off when we're trying to get back in the game and we brought Alfie on, I tried to play three in midfield and get two up front. I thought we could get the ball to the strikers, but then Wigan started to come out into wide areas and we had to change it again with McCleary on. The players kept going and you could see the spirit."

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