Ross McCormack says he will be “gutted” if a 30th goal of the season goes begging on Saturday – but insists he has no intention of turning Leeds United’s final game into a personal crusade.
The club’s captain is one goal short of the 30 mark and has been stuck on 29 since his winner at Barnsley on April 19, his only finish in the past seven games.
McCormack has one more opportunity to join the list of five Leeds players who have reached 30 goals in a single season, the most recent Jermaine Beckford and the most revered John Charles. Charles hit that target twice during his career at Elland Road and his haul in 1957 is the last time a United striker produced a 30-goal tally in league matches alone.
McCormack, whose Championship efforts stand at 28, admitted he would rue a number of missed penalties if he fell short of the same milestone but said he was prioritising United’s attempt to end an abject term with a fourth win from five games against Derby County.
“I won’t be happy if I don’t get there, especially because I’ve missed a few penalties,” McCormack said. “They would have taken me up to both marks – 30 goals for the season and 30 league goals too.
“It’s been playing on my mind a bit and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t. It’s been done very rarely here. But if I don’t get 30 then I’ve still got 29 and for me that’s a good return – probably more than I expected to score.
“I’d be a bit gutted if it doesn’t happen but if we win on Saturday and finish off with four wins from five games then that’s far more important in the grand scheme.”
Leeds produced a 3-1 victory at Birmingham City last Saturday but McCormack saw few chances, despite forcing Paul Caddis to concede an own goal late in the second half.
Manager Brian McDermott revealed that McCormack had attempted to claim the effort as his own after full-time but replays showed that the cross which Caddis slid into his own net was heading well wide.
“I’ll do what I have to on Saturday,” McCormack said. “At Birmingham last weekend, for the own goal I was through on my own and I could have taken a shot but I didn’t really think about it.
“I try to be unselfish and even though strikers tend to be selfish in their own way, you become a better player by making the right decisions when it matters.
“That put the game beyond doubt so shooting didn’t enter my mind.”
Exclusive Ross McCormack interview in tomorrow’s YEP.