WITH 270 minutes of the season remaining, Ross McCormack needs just two more goals to join a very exclusive club at Leeds United.
The Scottish international’s 16th-minute winner at Oakwell took his tally to the season for 29.
With only one of those – a penalty at Doncaster Rovers in August – having come in the cups, McCormack is within touching distance of joining the great John Charles and Tom Jennings as the only players in the club’s history to net 30-plus league goals in a season.
“It would be good to reach that,” said McCormack, whose previous best league tally is 21 for Cardiff City in 2008-09. “Thirty goals in a season would be great, but I want 30 in the league, as not many manage to do that.
“I have missed a couple of penalties already, so I should probably already be there. But there is never a dull moment at this club and, hopefully, I can nick another two between now and the end of the season.
“Of course it is great to be mentioned in the same breath as someone like John Charles.
“It would be a nice personal end to the season for me after what has gone on. It has not been an easy season, but I am definitely looking to get those two goals.”
Charles twice netted 30-plus goals for Leeds. The first came in 1953-54 when he found the net an incredible 42 times in 39 league appearances.
Three years later, the Welsh great repeated the trick with 38 goals in 40 league games.
Tom Jennings’ golden season for Leeds came in 1926-27 when he netted 35 times in the league.
Three other players have netted 30 times or more in a season including cup goals with Jermaine Beckford scoring 34 goals (27 league) in 2008-09 and then 31 (25) the following season as Leeds won promotion from League One.
Further back, Lee Chapman hit 31 goals (21 league) in 1990-91, while Peter Lorimer scored 30 (16 league) in 1967-68.
McCormack’s scoring feats this term deserve special praise as they have come in a desperately disappointing season.
In fact, United, 16th in the Championship even after back-to-back wins, have netted 55 goals – meaning the Scot has scored more than all his team-mates combined.
Matt Smith is the only other Leeds player to reach double figures with 10 in the league, while perhaps the biggest illustration of the captain’s value is that Brian McDermott’s side have won just twice when the Scot has failed to be on the scoresheet.
Asked if he wishes the 28 goals could have been the foundation on which a promotion push had been built, McCormack replied: “Yes, it would have been nice but it’s not to be.
“We are where we are and the bottom line is we have not been good enough. At the end of the day, the league doesn’t lie, regardless of what went on with ownership, and what went on in January with the takeover.
“The bottom line is that we have not been good enough. We were fifth up to Christmas Day with a real fighting chance and we should have had a go, added a few people to the squad in January, and had pushed on for the play-offs.
“Sadly, it wasn’t to be and everyone in the dressing room regrets the season we have had because it has not been good enough.”
On his own goalscoring form, the Leeds captain added: “If I get chances I’ll take them and you just need a manager who will believe in you.
“I didn’t have that last year (with Neil Warnock), but this year the manager has put a huge amount of faith in me and I think I have repaid a bit of that.”
McCormack signed a four-year contract in the autumn after United had rejected the advances of Middlesbrough.
West Ham and Cardiff then made an attempt to lure the Scot away from Elland Road in January and it seems certain that the Championship’s Golden Boot winner-in-waiting – he is four clear of nearest rival, Jordan Rhodes – will again attract attention in the summer.
Asked about his future, McCormack added: “I have got a couple of years left on my contract and whether the new owner wants me to extend that is up to him.
“If he puts a contract in front of me to sign I will be part of this new regime and, hopefully, take the club forward.”
“If that is not up to me, we’ll look at other things.”