Dion would love to make the play-offs
David Cuffley Dion Dublin would dearly love to extend his playing career by three weeks if it means Norwich City completing a football miracle.
Dion Dublin would dearly love to extend his playing career by three weeks if it means Norwich City completing a football miracle.
But the veteran striker refuses to get carried away by the mention of promotion play-offs - despite a remarkable 12-match unbeaten run that has taken the Canaries within four points of sixth place in the Coca-Cola Championship.
Dublin, who will be 39 in April, plans to retire at the end of the season, with City's final Championship fixture at Sheffield Wednesday on May 4.
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However, as Glenn Roeder's team prepare to face Hull City at Carrow Road tonight (7.45pm), the evergreen Dublin is aware that supporters are beginning to dream the impossible dream, and are checking the calendar just in case there are three additional games in May.
He said: “I think it's good for the fans to talk about the play-offs. It's down to us to keep that consistency going, the repetition of winning, the feel of winning, remembering the feeling in the changing rooms after you win and after you lose, and knowing which one you want.
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“For us it's just about getting as close as we can. It's a lot of hard work to get to the play-offs. It's a lot of hard work which we don't mind doing, but it's nowhere near yet in my eyes. We have to just keep winning, keep nicking the points and let's talk about them when we actually get in there. We're not there yet.”
Dublin knows there is no room for complacency if the Canaries are to extend their undefeated run.
He warned: “What we don't want to do now and what the fans don't want to do is think that we just have to turn up to win the game, and the players can't think like that either, or else we'll get a shock.
“If we don't do as well, we could be not far off where we were before. But the mentality's changed, fortunes have changed for us and there are still goals to be had this season. There are still rewards if we keep doing what we're doing and it would be nice to leave the season as a team with something in the bag.
“We've got 15 games to go now to achieve something this season and we've given ourselves a great platform to go from.
“We've been very lucky in some of the games we've played, but I think our luck was long overdue.
“Performances have been OK, decent. I still think there's more to offer in the individual performances and if we can keep this going, who knows?”
With the countdown under way to Dublin's final game in a career tally of well over 700, every 90 minutes is to be savoured.
He said: “I wouldn't say it means much more. It's always meant a lot to me but I suppose you're looking on and thinking 'Well, this is the last time I'm going to play at Barnsley, this is the last time I'm going to play at Cardiff', so I'm looking at it like that. I'm not going to be going to those places I've played at before.
“There are 15 games to go and it seems to be going quicker than I thought it would so I'm going to savour it. It's 15 games for the moment and hopefully 18.”
Roeder can pick from an unchanged squad, with two of the loan players - defender Alex Pearce and midfielder Kieran Gibbs - still yet to make their first City appearance, and he knows the importance of victory tonight.
He said: “Hull are a team that's sitting just above us at the moment and it's a massive scalp if we can get it. To gain three points from them would be huge and would be a big blow to them to lose the game.”
t Tonight's game is a sell-out for home fans. A limited number of buy-back tickets will be available from 5.45pm from the buy-back windows at Carrow Road. Tickets are available on a one ticket per fan basis.