Hamilton Academical may be comfortably enjoying a spot in the Ladbrokes Premiership top six but according to manager Martin Canning, that doesn’t change the target for this season.
A win on Saturday against Kilmarnock could see the Accies go third in the league behind Celtic and Aberdeen, but according to the man put in charge in January, safety is still the number one priority.
“The priority is to make sure we are a Premiership club this time next year and if we are then we have set out what we intended to do,” he told Ladbrokes News.
The league sponsors currently have the New Douglas Park outfit as 13/8 shots for a top-half finish this term. That is, despite the fact they have already opened up a five point gap to St Johnstone in seventh place.
Asked whether the bookies, and the wider world, were underestimating his side, Canning refused to get carried away.
“When you look at the size of the club and the size of our budget compared to other teams in the league then it is natural to think that we should be in the bottom six.
“I think we’ve got a good squad, but that [a top half finish] is not for me to look at. Our biggest focus is, and always will be, to make sure we are a Premiership club.
“If we win enough games then we can re-evaluate things, but at the moment we’ve got to try and maintain our status.”
And to win games you obviously have to score goals, and Canning was keen to give a nod to the balance of his squad for the season ahead.
Eight different Accies players have found the back of the net so far in 2015-16, and having that spread of goals could prove key to the manager’s plans.
“Last season we relied heavily on Tony [Andreu] and Mickael [Antoine-Curier] to get the goals, and when both of them left we struggled, so I think the fact that we’ve got goals coming from a lot of sources this season is beneficial.
“As a manager you want to see goals coming from everywhere and it’s really pleasing to see.”
Prior to their victory over neighbours Motherwell last week, Hamilton had lost two on the bounce, and for the man in charge it marked the perfect opportunity to restore some winning mentality.
And with a match against Kilmarnock up next, a team that Canning could view as direct competition in a relegation scrap, maintaining that momentum looks key.
“To win a deby game is massive regardless of your form, but I think after losing 4-1 to St Johnstone the previous week when we were disappointed with the performance, and the narrow defeat to Aberdeen when we played well, it was good to get the win on the board.
“The games against the teams around you are the ones that you have to go and try to win. So for us, we know how much of a big game it is for us, so we have to go down there, give a good show of ourselves and try to take three points.”
Ladbrokes make Hamilton 11/10 favourites to leave Rugby Park with all three points at the weekend.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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