Newcastle United midfielder Danny Guthrie has admitted that he would be disappointed to miss out on Europe despite starting the season with no thoughts of qualification.
The Magpies set off in August looking to make progress after finishing 12th in their first season back in the Premier League, but never dreaming of a top-six berth and the rewards that could bring.
But they head for West Brom on Sunday sitting in sixth place in the table with just nine games left to play, and knowing if they remain there that could be enough to book them a return to the European stage.
Asked if he could have dreamt of such a scenario back in August, Guthrie said: "No. The top 10 was our aim, but obviously, we have done a lot better than expected and we find ourselves in a position where we can get into Europe with nine games to go.
"It would have been a big bonus at the start, but we are there now, so it would be disappointing if we didn't.
"The top 10 was our aim at the start of the season, but because of the start we had and we have come through a difficult patch and managed to get a good win at home at the weekend, it would be disappointing now if we couldn't finish the job off."
Newcastle's chances of securing a first top-six finish since the Sir Bobby Robson era have been done little harm over the last week with their 1-0 home victory over Norwich City, which ended a four-game wait for a win, being followed by midweek defeats for fifth-placed Chelsea and Liverpool in seventh.
Indeed, the Reds started the weekend five points adrift of Alan Pardew's men, meaning their visit to Tyneside next Sunday could prove crucial.
"It gives us an opportunity to push on," continued Guthrie. "We know we have got a difficult away game at West Brom, but the results seemed to go our way in the week and we could open up a gap."