A COMBINATION of fatigued players, big crowds and a local derby challenged Eastwood Town's squad over the last week but four points from two games left boss Paul Cox highly satisfied.
Late goals against Ilkeston Town on Saturday rescued a point from a largely disappointing performance, before a fine win at FC United of Manchester on Wednesday saw the Badgers leap to sixth place in the league table.
Cox (left) was pleased with the points haul, particularly given the circumstances his players currently face.
He said: "When you look at these two games four points is a good tally. If we'd beaten Ilkeston and drawn on Wednesday I'd have been equally pleased, because these were both tough encounters.
"The players have had to cope with so many big games in the last few weeks and they were dead on their feet for the last 20 minutes at FC United, but they're getting the results."
Cox felt Saturday's performance against Ilkeston wasn't the best, but that was partly down to who they were playing.
"Ilkeston are a very difficult side to play against as every time they lose the ball they've suddenly got ten players behind it again," said Cox.
"We've been trying to play football recently but in the end we had to resort to bringing a big man on up front and playing over them, as we'd struggled to play through them!"
"I felt their first goal came after a foul on our keeper, and altogether I don't think they created too many chances."
The win at FC United came thanks to Ian Holmes' penalty, though Eastwood had created several good chances beforehand to have scored in open play.
Cox added: "We played some fabulous stuff in the first-half against a very good footballing side, and I don't think anybody could have complained if we'd scored four or five.
"Despite being so tired towards the end we still restricted their efforts on goal and it says so much about this team that we were able to grind out the win."
Eastwood now face another local derby this weekend with the visit of Worksop Town, with the tough match the Badgers faced in the return game in August a possible indicator of how Saturday's game could go.
"They were a tricky side when we went there but I've watched Worksop a lot this season and am well aware of their strengths and weaknesses," said Cox.
"They've brought in three or four new players in the last few weeks and got a great result at Boston on Wednesday, so it will be another tough game for us."
The defence of the UniBond League Cup begins next Tuesday with a trip to UniBond Division One South side Stocksbridge Park Steels, though with his side having had so many games recently Cox could be set to make several changes.
He added: "We've got a big squad and this is why. It won't necessarily be the reserve players, but more those who haven't had as many minutes as others like Marc Smith, Matt Rhead and Craig Swinscoe who are likely to get a game."
- Eastwood fans have been reminded they must buy tickets in advance for the FA Cup tie with Wycombe Wanderers on November 29.
There are three ways to obtain a ticket.
Either buy them at the club itself, or from a 24-hour hotline on 0871 230 1080.
Fans can also buy tickets from www.seetickets.com.
Anyone who goes to the ground on matchday without a ticket will not be allowed in.