Cardiff City manager Mick McCarthy has been reflective after his side look increasingly like missing out on the Championship play-offs this season.
When the two-time Republic of Ireland boss took over in January, The Bluebirds were hovering just above the relegation zone, but a sensational run of matches after his appointment gave them renewed play-off hopes.
Those aspirations faded only recently after a 5-0 thrashing by Sheffield Wednesday and a 2-2 draw at home to Blackburn Rovers left them 12 points adrift with just five games remaining.
McCarthy said: “Is it a success? No, but it’s been educational. The play-offs aren’t happening, even if we won all the games the other teams have enough about them to stop us, but when you’re preparing for next season you want to finish on a high.
“You’re always playing for something, your pride, the club, your jersey, the fans, yourself and your livelihood, if that isn’t enough to motivate you then there’s something wrong.”
Like many Championship sides with little left to play for in mid-table, Cardiff will now turn their attention towards a successful promotion charge next campaign.
Despite the recent poor run of form, the overarching change in fortunes for The Bluebirds since McCarthy’s arrival should put the boardroom’s mind at ease with regard to having the right man in the dugout.
McCarthy took the job three months ago after a three year hiatus from English club football. In that time, the former Republic of Ireland international embarked on his second managerial stint with the national team, before a spell with Cypriot side APOEL which was as unsuccessful as it was surprising.
Regardless, McCarthy will take his breadth of experience to the Madejski Stadium on Friday as Cardiff seek to restore some pride against promotion-chasing Reading.