Melton Town co-manager Tom Manship has called for his side to be more clinical as they enter an important week in their season.
Town host promotion rivals Anstey Nomads at Signright Park on Saturday before Senior League side Cottesmore Amateurs come to Melton for a County Senior Cup quarter-final clash on Tuesday.
Melton should go into the matches brimming with confidence after smashing in-form Aylestone Park 6-1 away last weekend, just seven days after another set of top-six opponents Harrowby United were dispatched.
But it was the Aylestone display which gave Town’s travelling support a glimpse of the team’s potential.
“It was really good; we’ve been threatening it for a while,” said Manship
“We’ve created more chances in previous games and come up with a 2-1 or a draw, but this time nearly everything went in.
“When we played Birstall we came off 1-1, but if we had come off 10-1 you would have said it was fair.
“We need to be ruthless in both boxes and give the opposition no time.
“If we can sort that out we won’t have many problems because in the middle third we have been dominant.”
If this sounds a touch perfectionist, Manship and his co-manager Jon Stevenson saw the dangers of letting levels drop last Wednesday when a changed side slipped to only their second league defeat of the season at struggling Rushden and Higham.
“Jon and I had a long talk with the team after the Rushden game and the boys were told in no uncertain terms what we expect,” Manship added.
“You don’t mind mistakes or even a bad performance, but we felt let down.
“Every game this season we have created a hatful of chances, but against Rushden there wasn’t the chances and there was a lack of desire to see the game out.
“But it was the only time this season they have let us down and they came back with a massive reaction on Saturday.”
He added: “There are no gimmes in this league; you have to work hard for every result.
“The only half where we stepped off we got punished for it.
“The league is actually stronger than we thought it would be. There are seven or eight teams with very good footballers who have played at a higher level.”
Having scouted Saturday’s opponents a couple of times, Manship puts second-placed Anstey firmly among this bracket and expects a tough game in front of what the club believes could be a 200-plus gate.
“They are very clinical,” he said.
“They have ex-professionals at the back and very good players up front and if they get a chance they score.”
A defeat of Anstey, by any margin, would lift Town up into second place in United Counties League Division One and within touching distance of leaders Lutterworth Town.
And Manship believes if they can retain this position for another month, his side have the squad to kick on after the turn of the year.
“I believe there is more to come from the group,” he added.
“Our rivals have been together for at least a season or more, but we have been together for a matter of months and I think we’re doing well.
“Come Christmas as long as we are still in the mix, I will be happy.
“The target I was given at the start was to get FA Cup football next year which we are on track for.
“We are also in the quarter-finals of the Leicestershire Senior Cup which I said at the start of the season was also important for us.”
Saturday’s UCL match kicks off at 3pm, and Tuesday’s county cup tie gets under way at 7.30pm.