Chorley boss Matt Jansen wants his promotion-chasing men to build on the first two thirds of the season by finishing the job as the business end of the campaign nears.
The Magpies are fourth in the National League North table with 51 points, 11 behind first-placed AFC Fylde, with a three-point gap from sixth-placed Halifax.
Jansen expects it to be a nine-horse race to finish in the top five but reckons even 11th-placed Brackley, who have a number of games in hand, could too challenge as a host of clubs prepare to up the ante to bag a play-off spot.
He is eager to keep the promotion push going, starting with a trip to 13th-placed FC United tomorrow.
He said: “There are quite a few challenging, as low as Harrogate. There are probably about nine teams going for the five spots at the top.
“We have always had confidence – there is a great character and spirit and hopefully that can continue and we can push on and keep our form from the first two thirds of the season and finish it off in the final third.”
Jansen is anticipating a tough run of fixtures, with the Magpies following their United trip with a rearranged Tuesday night clash at Boston and then a home date with third-placed Kidderminster.
Chorley drew 3-3 with FC United at Victory Park on the opening day of the season –one of only two occasions when they have conceded three this season – and Jansen says his team has gone from strength-to strength since.
He said: “We pride ourselves on clean sheets but it was the first game of the season and they are always a formidable side. Hopefully we will get three points and push ourselves closer to securing a play-off spot.
“On the first day of the season you are always finding out your best side and learning.
“We are always striving to improve and game by game we have been doing that.
“We have brought in attackers Jack Sampson and Robbie McDaid and we are getting stronger as the season progresses.”
Dale Whitham came off in the Magpies’ 1-1 draw with Darlington but Jansen says it was just a bang. He hopes injured forward Jason Walker (knee) will be back by the end of the month.
Meanwhile, AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor is banking on his side learning harsh lessons from the 5-0 defeat at the hands of Salford City.
A week on from that shock reverse, the Coasters – still nine points clear at the top – entertain AFC Telford United tomorrow, and Challinor said: “No one wants to lose 5-0, but as someone pointed out to me it was better to lose one match by that score than lose five matches by 1-0.”
Southport – with new boss Andy Preece at the helm for the first time – are at home to Dagenham in the National League.