McCarthy eager to avoid complacency

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The Independent Online

The Sunderland manager, Mick McCarthy, sends his team back into League action tonight warning them that they have achieved nothing yet.

The Sunderland manager, Mick McCarthy, sends his team back into League action tonight warning them that they have achieved nothing yet.

Wearside was buzzing on Monday after the Black Cats were rewarded for their FA Cup quarter-final victory over promotion rivals Sheffield United with a semi-final draw which paired them with either of their fellow Nationwide League compatriots, Millwall or Tranmere, with the prospect of a Millennium Stadium meeting with Arsenal or Manchester United up for grabs.

However, McCarthy will order his players to put that out of their minds as they turn their attention back to tonight's meeting with Preston and West Ham's visit on Saturday as the focus switches to the hunt for a play-off place or better.

"The season is not finished," McCarthy said. "There are lots of games to play and I always feel there's a danger when people start talking about what we've achieved when really we haven't achieved anything.

"If we end up in the final of the Cup and in the play-offs, somebody could say we've had a great season. Ultimately, we want to be in the play-offs, we want to be in the shake-up for promotion.When people start patting us on the back at this stage, that's when the question of complacency comes in.

"We haven't achieved anything. We've given ourselves an opportunity to go to the final in the Cup and we've still got an opportunity to get into the play-offs, and that's all.

"I'm not trying to be a hard-nosed, miserable guy who does not enjoy it - I loved it on Sunday, winning that game. But very quickly, it's back down to what we're doing and playing games and back down to feet-on-the-ground stuff.

"As yet, all we've got is two opportunities and if we grab one of them, then all right - but we'd like to grab them both."

Sunderland go into the Preston game lying ninth in the First Division table but with three games in hand on most of their rivals and four on some. However, they do so without the influential midfielder Julio Arca who has a medial ligament injury.

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