Iwelumo has unfinished business
Chris Iwelumo is hoping to get a second shot at the Premier League after failing to make his mark with Wolves.
By Chris Galea
Last Updated: 22/04/11 12:10pm
Professional footballers often say that once you've experienced playing in the top flight it leaves you craving for more, with the Premier League arguably the best domestic league in the world.
Burnley's experienced striker Chris Iwelumo earned his first taste of the big stage with Wolves last season after playing a crucial role in their promotion from the Championship.
However, lady luck was not on the Scotland international's side as he broke a foot during the Black Country outfit's pre-season preparations, which left the burly striker forever playing catch up in the fitness stakes.
Having dropped back down to the Championship with Burnley last summer he had one plan in mind, to help the Clarets return to the top flight and give himself another bite of the Premier League cherry.
An inconsistent season has seen them hover around the top six for most of the season, but recent back-to-back victories have propelled them into the chasing pack and Iwelumo told skysports.com's Chris Galea that confidence has never been an issue at Turf Moor this season, despite the dips in form.
"I've got to say that from the start of the season there has been that kind of confidence and atmosphere around the club," he said.
"We had a great start to the season before falling away a bit for whatever reasons.
"We've won the last two games now and although it is too early to say that we are back to our best, we just need to concentrate on doing the things that we have been doing right.
"We've always had the confidence in ourselves to go and get promoted and it is just a case of showing that we can do that on the pitch rather than just talking about it.
"I've been doing what I've been doing for over 14 years now and my aim was to play at the top level, which I managed to do at Wolves.
"I was very unlucky to break my foot during the first game of pre-season and never really got the chance to give it 100 per cent, so I want to go into the Premier League fully fit and raring to go next time.
"I never scored in the top flight and I definitely want to go there and experience it again."
A run of six games without a win, prior to recent victories over Swansea and Middlesbrough, put a huge dent in the play-off pursuit, but Iwelumo believes that one crucial clash, the trip to Elland Road for the penultimate game of the season, could decide their fate.
He added: "If we had picked up a few more points in the period of five or six games where we went without a win then we'd probably be in the play-offs, but we are back to winning ways now and we are working hard for each other to make the season end with a bang.
"Swansea had more of the possession on Saturday, but once they had grabbed the opener it gave us nothing to lose and we gave it a really good go, which gave us the right result in the end.
"It was a much more comfortable result on Tuesday night against Middlesbrough and we were in full control from start to finish.
"We've just got to take it one game at a time and not look at the bigger picture too much because there are a lot of sides still eyeing up that final play-off place.
"Leeds are in that final play-off place at the moment and we've got them before the end of the season, so it is going to be a tense finale to the season and it is always great to have something to play for at this stage of the campaign.
"We aren't relying on anyone else to do us a favour and it is up to us to put our own house in order, but we've got to go to their place, which is a difficult place to go, and step up to the plate.
"I'm sure that we have the right characters within the squad to do that and as long as we carry on where we left off in the last two games then it will be very interesting for us.
"It is the penultimate game of the season and at that stage we will know what we have to do to get in the play-offs.
"If we falter between now and then there are a number of clubs looking to catch Leeds, with Leicester even capable of doing so despite being three behind us.
"We said that we had a difficult run-in about a week ago, with Swansea and Middlesbrough at home as well, especially with the run that we are on at the time, but we stepped up and got the correct results from the two games.
"We will just concentrate on ourselves and focus on the trip to Derby this weekend first and once that has gone we will look to the home clash with Portsmouth, but we aren't getting too far ahead of ourselves."
Blackpool's fairytale rise to prominence has given many clubs something to aspire to and Iwelumo knows the importance of momentum when going into the play-offs is not to be under-rated.
"It has always been the case that whoever can go into the play-offs with that little bit of form usually carry on in the same fashion," he said.
"Reading are probably the one that fits the bill this season, with automatic promotion a realistic opportunity for them now, but if they don't quite make the top two then they will probably be the ones to beat in the play-offs.
"If we can go unbeaten from now until the end of the season and find ourselves in the top six then we can hopefully carry it on and go all the way."