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Irvine not in the comfort zone yet
Published : 04 Feb 2010 18:07:00
The Sheffield Wednesday chief has been nominated for the manager of the month award, but has played down his flying start to life at Hillsborough following a surprise departure from Deepdale. Former PNE boss Irvine said: "We've got 12 points out of a possible 15, but if you look at the table it still doesn't look all that comfortable. "We need an awful lot more points to make sure we remain a Championship team next season and until we get them the focus will be on reaching the target of 53 points. "I'm delighted to get four wins out of five, it's a fantastic start, but the award nomination is a mark of the players working really hard and the staff behind the scenes working really hard and we're all going to have to do it over and again between now and the end of the season so that we can get to where we want to be." Irvine, meanwhile, has challenged defender Frank Simek to rediscover the form that had alerted Premier League scouts before a string of injuries hindered his progress. American full-back Simek earned rave reviews when he burst into the first team under former Owls boss Paul Sturrock five years ago, but has failed to return to the same heights since rupturing ankle ligaments in December 2007. Manager Irvine, set to hand Simek a first-team recall due to Lewis Buxton's hamstring injury, said: "Frank has got a very strong chance to stake his claim in the team now. When players get in the team it's up to them to grab that chance. "He has had a lot of injuries and that's a real shame because it was not that long ago that people were watching Frank from the Premier League and thinking about him as a player who would make that step. "There's no question that he's a good player, it's just about how ready he is to step up to the first team, but he's a very good professional and I expect he will be able to come in and do very well."