KEITH SOUTHERN is targeting a top-10 Championship finish for Huddersfield Town in May – and says any talk of a possible play-off tilt is unrealistic.
The midfielder enjoyed a rare taste of the spotlight this term in just his fifth league start of an injury-hit campaign, netting his first goal since December 2012 in Town’s 5-0 slaying of Barnsley.
The victory leaves 13th-placed Town nine points adrift of sixth-placed Wigan, but Southern says the club’s sights should revolve around clinching a top-10 finish in the second tier for the first time since 1999-2000.
Southern, who is hoping for an extended run in the side to boost his hopes of earning a new deal at the John Smith’s Stadium, said: “It’s easy to be caught up and say after winning 5-0 that we’re going to make the play-offs.
“Let’s be realistic; our results all season indicate we are a mid-table team and we’ve got to get that consistency when we are not playing well to grind out a 1-0 win.
“Until we get that, I think we will finish about where we are.
“There are 13 games left, nearly a quarter of the season. Can we break into the top 10? That’s got to be the aim for this football club.
“We’re only in our second season in the Championship and if we can finish in the top 10, it will be a great season for us.
On his own future, he added: “My contract is up in the summer and I am playing for my future.
“But I think all the lads are. Whether you have got a three-year or three-month deal, you are only as good as your last game.
“I’ve had to wait a long time for my opportunity and have been itching to play. You just want your chance.
“You go in with the right attitude every day and hope the manager sees something. Thankfully, he has stuck by me and given me a chance.
“It’s a little bit later in the season than I would have hoped, but it’s better late than ever. Hopefully, I have repaid him with a decent performance .”
Meanwhile, Barnsley midfielder Stephen Dawson has apologised after confronting a Reds supporter in the away end shortly after Saturday’s heavy defeat at Town.
The Irishman had to be restrained by team-mates after being involved in an altercation with a fan and has now said sorry for his actions and made a ‘significant donation’ to Barnsley Hospice.
The Reds have also issued an apology after incidents just after the final whistle, with the club investigating an alleged incident involving winger Brek Shea, who appeared to make a gesture towards fans.
A further statement will be made upon Shea’s return from international duty with the USA.