ON-LOAN striker Simon Church believes Town should not be discounted from the promotion race.
Manager Simon Grayson’s side go into Saturday’s trans-Pennine derby with Bolton Wanders lying 15th in the table and with only one win in their last six games.
However, 23-year-old Welsh international Church has pointed to how his parent club Reading won the Championship title last season even though they were 16th in the table at this stage of the campaign.
While Town’s main ambition may be consolidation after promotion from League I last term, Church said he would never rule out a promotion push given the topsy-turvy nature of the division.
“Reading were 16th after the same number of games last year. We weren’t winning games and nobody was happy with our performances,” said Church.
“However, we started grinding out 1-0 wins and it kept building from there until we ended up being the clear title winners.
“The Championship is a league where everyone can beat anyone. You just need to be positive and our experience at Reading last season shows what can happen.”
Town may currently be in same situation as Reading were, but they go into Saturday’s clash at the John Smith’s Stadium on the back of a 4-2 home defeat by arch rivals Leeds United and Church admitted: “We again didn’t turn up.”
Church said the players had hoped to put matters right from the previous show at Middlesbrough, but struggled after Leeds cancelled out Chris Atkinson’s early opener.
Church said: “I’d probably have to agree with that and it was the same at Middlesbrough. We didn’t react when we conceded and it has cost us.
“It could be a confidence thing, but I don’t think it’s down to nerves about being in the Championship. I don’t think anyone could say we’re underdogs.
“The team has earned the right to be in this division and have shown with some of the performances that we’re capable of winning games.
“We just seemed to lack confidence after we conceded. And then in the second half we didn’t come out of the starting blocks.”
He gave a frank assessment of his own form and said: “It’s two games now where I’ve not had many chances. But I’ve got to look at myself as well. I don’t think I’ve been playing at my best lately and I’m disappointed with that.
“I’m really enjoying my time here though. The fans and players have been great. It’s a good club to play for.
“The atmosphere on Saturday was also tremendous. It was good the fans stayed with us. We were disappointed we couldn’t get the win they wanted.”