IAN CRANEY is hunting three points at Crewe tomorrow and assured Town’s fans: “We are mentally right to challenge for the play-offs.”
The Liverpudlian midfielder has come off the bench in the last nine matches and helped push Town to within touching distance of the top six.
He revelled in the 1-0 victory over Leeds United which brought Town their first double against the Elland Road club since 1930-31 and has now spelled out what the squad need to do to turn play-off hopes into reality.
“We have got to start winning games away from home, not just picking up the odd point, and it would be great to start straight away at Gresty Road,” explained Craney.
“Having achieved a fantastic result against our arch rivals, we’ve now got to kick on and with our next two matches being away from home, it would be brilliant to pick up six points – that really would put us right in the mix for the top six.
“We have kept on getting close and then losing or drawing matches – so it’s important we now get ourselves in the shake-up and stay in the shake-up.
“The lads believe we can play anybody in League I and beat them, but we know we’ve got to do it on our travels to make sure of really pushing for the top six.
“Yes, it was a great win against Leeds, but now we have to progress.”
Craney revealed training has been buoyant this week since Nathan Clarke’s decisive header in the Galpharm derby watched by 20,928.
“We are all aware of what these derbies are all about,” said Craney, who was signed from Accrington Stanley by previous boss Stan Ternent.
“When we played over at Leeds and won, it was not only a great achievement but it was a brilliant celebration with all the fans.
“We were able to tell all the new lads what that was like before last Saturday’s match, and then they quickly got the message when the atmosphere was as good as it was.
“The fans really pushed us on with their backing, everyone did their jobs and it was a really special three points for us.”
So can Town maintain a challenge to extend their season and target promotion in May?
“Of course we can,” he answered.
“When you look at the team, the strength of the bench and the quality in the squad, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t finish in the top six.
“The defence are looking a very solid unit at the moment, the whole team are performing well and I don’t think we need to set ourselves any targets – because we should be going out to win every game.
“That’s the way you succeed and we’ve got the ability to do it. We are also mentally right to finish the season well.”
On his own form, Craney added: “No player should be happy on the bench and it is frustrating for me because I started the season well, got a few goals and I want to be involved in every minute of every match.
“But I am a part of this, a part of trying to take the club in the right direction and you’ve got to be patient. The lads in the team are doing well, so you can’t go knocking on the gaffer’s door.
“It’s good for the future that people have to keep doing well and it inspires you to do your best yourself. It benefits the whole team.”