George Honeyman says Hull City are aiming for promotion to the Premier League after a Christmas where he and they made strides forward.
Their chances will be far greater if they keep Jarrod Bowen this month.
The Tigers enjoyed consecutive away wins either side of the new year, at Queens Park Rangers and Sheffield Wednesday, as Honeyman made back-to-back starts for the first time since October.
Honeyman scored the equaliser at QPR and created the only goal at Hillsborough for Bowen, to put Hull level on points with the Owls, one outside the play-off places.
“We’re not satisfied until we have Premier League status at the end of the season,” insisted Honeyman.
“A lot of people will be surprised but we set those goals at the very start of the season. We haven’t come off in a game yet and felt over-awed or miles off it.
“Why can’t we go for automatic (promotion)? Why put a ceiling on it?
“At the start of the season, our target was the play-offs but let’s try to win every game and see where it takes us.”
Premier League clubs have unsurprisingly shown an interest in winger Bowen after 17 goals already this season, but coach Grant McCann is adamant Hull do not want to sell.
“It’s nice to play with special players and he’s going to be key to where we want to go,” said Honeyman. “In the Championship, there’s only (Fulham’s Aleksandar) Mitrovic who has got more goals, so to have someone like that is very special.
“It’s not just his goals, for a winger to have the work-rate he does is very under-rated. Some of the lads aspire to that.”
Honeyman feels there has been real progress this week.
“It felt rather comfortable (on Wednesday) and at a place like Hillsborough that is testament to where we are as a team.
“That comes from games like QPR where we probably didn’t play our best but grit took us over the line.
“My first Hull goal (at QPR) had been a long time coming, I’ve had to be patient, but it’ll be the first of many.
“I see myself as a goal-scoring midfielder and I want to get in the box and create chances,” continued the former Sunderland player. That’s something I haven’t done in my time at Hull yet but I know what I’m capable of. I’ve shown it in the last couple of games but there’s 20 games left.
“It’s not about talking, it’s about showing people.”