Date: 20th January 2009 at 5:35pm
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Martin O’Neill has been praising the first team squad again today on the official site for their ‘Herculean’ efforts so far this season.

The effort put in to drive us into the Top 4 is even better in O’Neill’s eyes because the squad are not used to competing with the so called ‘big boys’.

We are averaging two points a game and are within touching distance of first place which is something nobody expected at the beginning of the season.

‘If we managed to maintain a two point per game average until the end of the season, I would be absolutely thrilled. It is terrific at the moment.

‘Every game we play and win is a big effort.

‘We are not Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool or Arsenal. Those teams have been in this situation before and they are there every season. They know how to cope with this.

‘It’s been hard work for us. After Boxing Day, it’s been a real struggle but we have managed to get the points on the board.

‘Interestingly, during that period, our performance against Arsenal – where we picked up the solitary point – was our best.

‘Overall, I couldn’t be more pleased with the team – we have drive, effort and determination. We might lose three games in a row now but I assure you it won’t be through complacency or lack of effort and desire.’

There’s plenty of criticism that fans can throw at the squad lately over the performances we have put in, but O’Neill is perfectly right, one thing you can’t criticise the team over has been their effort and determination.

We deserve our current league placing based on that if nothing else.