THREE straight wins and 13 goals scored in the process have left Eastwood Town full of confidence as they head into another tough pair of matches.
The 3-0 win at Workington on January 25 was followed up with a resounding 6-1 success at Corby Town on Saturday.
But despite having also dumped Retford United out of the Notts Senior Cup 4-0 on Tuesday night, boss Paul Cox says his side can take no match for granted as they prepare to host Vauxhall on Saturday and visit Stalybridge Celtic next Tuesday, where they won in the FA Cup earlier this season.
He said: “We’ve become much more of a team in recent games but there’s still work to be done in order to become a good team. There’s a big difference.
“Where before we used to attack as an 11 but defend as a three - which may have been entertaining but wasn’t winning us games - we’re now much more of a unit.
“But I’ve told the players they have to earn the right to win every game otherwise they’ll get caught out.
“If they maintain that attitude then we can really push on up the league.”
While recording a convincing victory, Cox felt the 6-1 scoreline flattered his side a little after a tough encounter at Corby, the final three goals coming late on in a devastating ten minute spell by Peter Knox who notched his first hat-trick since returning to the club.
“I don’t think it was quite the battering the scoreline suggests but we coped better with what was a very hard pitch and showed great ruthlessness once again,” he said.
“A few eyebrows were raised when I brought Knoxy back in but he’s always done the job for me and is a natural goalscorer, which is something you can’t coach or train into someone.
“He was in great form at Corby not only with his goals but also in creating one for Matt Rhead.”
Tuesday’s win at Retford saw several players who haven’t had as much playing time in recent weeks get a run-out, and Cox was pleased with the work put in by squad members whom, with a huge backlog of fixtures to clear, he is keen to see stake their claim for a place in the team whenever a chance arises.
He said: “There were some performances that have really got me thinking ahead of Saturday, which is what I wanted because we need as many as possible to be sharp and ready to step in whenever needed.
“We may even send one or two out on loan in the next few weeks because it’s important they all get match practice during this congested spell.
“We’re not going to be able to play the same 11 each week as injuries, suspensions and tiredness will inevitably come into it, so those on the sidelines have to be ready.”
With Eastwood having a number of games in hand on those above them, there is good reason to believe progress up the Blue Square Bet North table is still possible, but Cox was keen to maintain a sense of reality.
He added: “Someone mentioned to me after the Corby game that we could make the play-offs but I thought they were mad as we’re still a long way from that.
“Promotion was never likely this season as we’re gradually putting the building blocks in place to make that a more viable option in the future. I keep setting the players mini-goals, and they currently include seeing if we can get into the top ten and stay there.”