Mansfield Town will be respectful of the high quality of opposition when third-placed Plymouth Argyle visit on Saturday – but boss Adam Murray is confident the Stags can still win the game.
Argyle have won three out of four of their away games so far as well as victory at AFC Wimbledon in the Johnstone Paint’s Trophy.
So Murray knows they represent a far bigger threat than that posed by Crawley Town, whom Stags put to the sword 4-1 in their last home game.
“They’ve had a very good start,” said Murray. “We have obviously watched their games over the beginning part of the week and they are a strong outfit.
“The signings they have brought in over the summer have made them a more efficient kind of outfit. They are really solid and an attacking threat as well.
“It’s going to be a tough task for us on Saturday, but we are more than confident going into it.
“We keep saying it. We went to Luton believing we could win and we believe we can beat these on Saturday too.”
He added: “We are going to have to be on our mettle. We are going to have to stay focused and concentrate for 90-odd minutes. It will be one of the games that we will have to be at our best, but our performances through 70 per cent of the season have been good and we look to push on now.
“We are going into a group of games in which we want to pick some points up and get back into the play-offs and cement our position there. But like we said from day one, this season is all about progressing and as long as I see that I will be happy.
“We are at home so we want to set the tempo. But we are going to have to do it in a structured way. We can’t be willy-nilly. We are going to have be aware of their threats but, at the same time, be aware we have a lot of threats of our own.
“There will be certain people let off the leash to set the tempo for us, but at the same time we will be defensively organised and we’ll have an infrastructure in place to cope with their strengths.”
As soon as Plymouth is out the way, the games come thick and fast with tough trips to Stevenage on Tuesday and Dagenham & Redbridge the weekend after.
“It’s been good to have a couple of weeks on the training ground,” said Murray.
“The boys have worked really hard. We have pushed them physically and done the tactical work.
“So we are prepared for three games in a week and they are games in which we want to go into and put more points on the board and keep progressing – that’s all we can ask for.
“We wanted to set out this season as a progressive season where we continuously see steps forward and see not just the team but the football club growing, and I think that’s happening.
“Our form has been good. Our performances, especially away from home, have been excellent. So we want to keep building on that.
“We want the performances and results to mirror each other and my ethos is that if the process is right, the results will come.
“Sometimes you are on the wrong end of the inches like were were on Saturday when Luton got the little bit of luck that we didn’t. That’s football. As long as we stick to our process you earn the luck and we will be on the right side more often than not.”
Murray is likely to bring Jack Thomas into central midfield in place of the injured Chris Clements while Lee Collins is favourite to get the nod for the right back position with skipper Nicky Hunt serving a one-game ban.
With some players off ill with a virus this week, Murray will not know until the last minute if he is going to be able to name a full bench.