Graham Westley says pushing Preston North End into the top six will be the result of getting a ‘balancing act’ right.
Inconsistent results are keeping North End on the fringes of the early season promotion pace rather than right in the pack.
But Westley, who takes his side to Scunthorpe tonight, is confident that the required balance will come.
He said: “We have to get ourselves from ‘there abouts’ to ‘there’ and that takes a lot of hard work.
“We’re up-and-running and I’ve got no doubt that we will start turning performances which are close to a winning level into an actual winning level on a consistent basis.
“When we played one of the top sides Swindon and smashed them, we showed that we have goals in us.
“We’ve got to get that balance right between keeping clean sheets and going forward with real purpose.
“You can see that we have struggled getting that balance so far.
“When we’ve been better defensively, we have struggled to get as much aggression going forward.
“We have to get to the point where we have enough to go forward and enough to defend with.”
The PNE boss felt that his players weren’t that far from getting something out of Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Sheffield United.
It’s that loss which North End will be looking to recover from when they head to Glanford Park (7.45pm).
Westley said: “I watched the game again on Sunday and my thoughts didn’t change very much from seeing it live.
“We controlled large parts of the game and you could argue that our play didn’t have the penetration it needed.
“But we still carved out many good chances and had 10 attempts on goal to their five.
“Saying that, Sheffield United got the ball in the net once which won them the game.
“I felt for the lads at the weekend, they put a lot into the game and I didn’t think their game was bad.”
An ankle injury has placed a doubt against Bailey Wright’s involvement tonight.
The central defender went over on his left ankle in the first half and managed to battle on until the 58th minute.
If Wright doesn’t make it, Paul Huntington is likely to come in at the back alongside Chris Robertson.
John Mousinho is touch and go when it comes to being available, the skipper having been ill with mumps.
While Scunthorpe are third bottom of the table, Westley won’t be underestimating them.
Neither will he be tagging it as a ‘must-win’ game.
“We go into every game with a will to win it,” said Westley.
“When we have won five and lost five of our first 13 league games, it would be daft to start talking about this one in such a way.
“Scunthorpe will be no pushovers, anyone who thinks that will be mistaken.
“Their manager Alan Knill knows his football and builds sides who like to play what people would call the right way.
“He always has a lot of bright ball players in his team.”