Danny Craig admits that he won’t be shouting from the rooftops just yet but the Barnoldswick Town boss is targeting the top six again after securing three wins on the bounce.
The outlook had been completely different at the beginning of the month when Town had embarked on an eight game streak without victory.
That fruitless spell left the club on the fringes of the Hallmark Security Premier Division relegation zone and brought exits in the FA Cup and FA Vase.
However, after edging out AFC Liverpool and struggling Barnton in five-goal thrillers and taking maximum points against West Didsbury and Chorlton, Town are now 11th and just five points from their designated destination.
“We hit a bit of a sticky patch midway through the season so far which took some getting through but I think we’re there now,” said the Silentnight Stadium boss.
“I think the City of Liverpool game was the turning point for us. That never say die attitude was back and it felt like a win having drawn 4-4 with 10 men after being 3-1 down. The signs were good and it seemed like the tide had turned.
“We won a couple of games late on and then against West Didsbury and Chorlton we put on our best performance of the season. We took our chances, defended well and had our fair share of possession.
“That was a really good display that reflected a top six side. Winning football matches is the only thing that can develop confidence in players. You can’t do it in a training session. We’ve won three games on the bounce now and it’s showing.
“The squad has got plenty of quality in it. We’ve lost two key players (Danny Boyle and Jonathan Hodgkinson) but the lads that we’ve got have plenty of ability. That’s credit to the players that are here and there’s a better feel to the place now.”
Following postponements in home games against Abbey Hey and Tadcaster Albion, with the latter in the West Riding Cup, Craig’s men will now take on second place Runcorn Linnets in Cheshire tomorrow before travelling to basement side Burscough midweek.
“The aim is still to break in to the top six,” Craig said. “I understand that there’s a lot of competition in there now, there are some very decent sides, but that’s what I’d like.
“We’ve deserved something from the majority of our games. I think if we had been better at killing teams off then we’d be further up the table now.
“I think we could be higher but we’ve just got to take it one game at a time now because this league can be like night and day.
“We are doing well and feeling better but we won’t start banging the drum just yet. We’re just trying to be as good as we can be so we’re not shouting from the roof tops at the moment.
“We need to be professional in both games. Runcorn Linnets will give us a really good idea of where we’re at.
“If you can compete with them then you know that you’re there or thereabouts. They will provide a good yardstick for us.
“I’ve watched this team compete and beat the best sides in the league. There’s no reason why we can’t go there and do it.
“Then we can’t afford to under-estimate Burscough. We’ve got to go there, be professional, and respect what is in front of us.”