By Gareth James
Mick McCarthy insists he has not waved any magic wand in turning Cardiff City from Championship strugglers to play-off contenders.
The veteran manger has overseen a huge turnaround in fortunes since succeeding Neil Harris.
City have picked up 14 points in six unbeaten games under McCarthy winning the last four of them ahead of a crucial week.
“Yeah, all of me,” said the 62-year-old, when asked if he was surprised by the excellent start under him and long-time assistant Terry Connor.
“I know what I do, TC, what we do together, what we are capable of. We have a good record in this league.
“There is no magic wand you wave, just this is how we are with people, we’ve got the best out of people.
“We have got a shift out of everyone. It’s up to them to do it.”
McCarthy’s men are seventh ahead of Saturday’s visit of Preston just six points behind sixth-placed Bournemouth who they visit on Tuesday.
And that is followed by a trip to former manager Neil Warnock’s Middlesbrough who are currently eighth on the same points as City.
“I’d sooner be pecking at their backsides than having mine pecked at,” added McCarthy of being within sight of Bournemouth.
“Those four wins on a bounce, you’ve got to keep going.
“If you lower your guard and you’re thinking you’re looking like play-offs, I just say ‘hold on, let’s just keep picking up points’.
“Where we are is where we are. If we lost at Bristol (Ctiy), we were fourth-bottom that day, so I prefer looking at the table now.
“The beauty of winning games is we don’t have to go on the training ground and try a different shape, different variations.
“Some of the big lads are taking a real pounding, it’s Saturday-Tuesday, we travel up to Middlesbrough then, that’ll be a big week for us.”
McCarthy insisted he had not looked for talks with Bluebirds owner Vincent Tan over extending a contract that is sue to expire at the end of the season.
He added: “I’ve not looked for any chat.
“We are going well. With that, if I’m going well, if they want to keep me, great. If not, I’m sure something else will come up.
“All I’m bothered about is beating Preston. Then we move on to Bournemouth. If you win games your just rewards come.”
Jonny Williams could make a belated Bluebirds bow against a Preston side that has lost three of its last four games.
The Wales midfielder has been sidelined by a training ground injury since joining on deadline day, but may have to bide his time for a regular starting slot given the form of Harry wilson.
Liverpool loanee Sheyi Ojo is also available again after injury but Joe Ralls is still sidelined.
Worryingly, 13-goal striker Kieffer Moore and Josh Murphy could miss the game after taking knocks in the 2-0 victory at Luton Town in midweek.