Topsy sets out targets
Exiles winger hoping for productive end to 2011/12 campaign
By Chris Burton. Last Updated: 09/02/12 9:56am
Topsy Ojo: Hoping to secure a top-four finish with London Irish and earn an England recall
Topsy Ojo is looking for London Irish to end the season with a flourish, presenting them with a shot at the play-offs and him with an England recall.
With there is still all to play for this term, the flying winger is determined to ensure that he is a prominent figure in any success the Exiles enjoy.
They currently find themselves on the outside of the play-off pack looking in, but only three points separate them from Northampton and Leicester - the two sides directly above them in the table.
A top-four finish is now the sole target for those in the Exiles camp, with a local derby against table-topping Harlequins on Saturday providing them with an ideal platform on which to kick-start their campaign and push towards Aviva Premiership glory.
"Quins are going really well but we are in better shape than we were earlier in the season," Ojo told Sky Sports.
"We want to get into the top four and be challenging at the end of the season. Every league game is really important. We have had the Heineken Cup and LV games and we are now ready for a huge test this weekend. It's a derby game as well, so we know how important it is."
The Premiership is now the only prize in London Irish's sights, with domestic and European cup disappointment over recent weeks having forced the Exiles to narrow their targets.
Ojo said: "That's the run-in now for us through to the end of the season. We have got nine games left and it's important to take as much from those as possible. We have to establish momentum and put ourselves in contention.
"We have missed out in the last couple of seasons but, having been in the final a few years ago and almost finished the job, you want to get back there. That's our aim and between now and the end of the season we have to make sure we end up in the top four. There are about three or four teams that are all in the same position, trying to get into the top four, and we want to be one of them."
Were the Exiles to come out on top in 2011/12, it would be difficult for the England selectors to ignore the claims of their key men to international call-ups, with Ojo among those hoping to force his way back into the reckoning following a spell out of favour.
He said: "Yeah, I'm still hoping. They had a good win at the weekend. I hope that my form between now and the end of the season shows that I'm worthy of a shot. I need to get my head down and play well. If I do my best, hopefully a chance will come.
"It's not just in the England set-up that there is competition, though, I have got that competition at club level as well. Making it into the XV week in, week out isn't easy. There are probably seven or eight guys fighting for two shirts, but I have to make sure that I put myself in the best position I can to be one of them."
Alex Corbisiero is currently the only London Irish representative in the England squad, but Ojo is hoping that contingent can be bolstered significantly in the coming months.
He said: "We are delighted for Corbs and he deserves to be in there. It is added motivation for the likes of myself, Delon Armitage, Paul Hodgson, Jamie Gibson, Shontayne Hape. All of these guys are all in the same boat. We are all trying to move forward and get that recognition. Your club form is the only thing you can control, so we have to do as well as we can, push on into that top four and see what happens after that."
During Saturday's Aviva Premiership derby match between Harlequins and London Irish, league sponsors Aviva are continuing their scientific quest to find the league's 'most passionate fans'. For more information, visit www.avivapremiership.com/passionate