Stanley boss James Beattie believes his players deserve all the credit for their climb up League Two – and wants them to continue with a win over Northampton Town tomorrow.
The Reds have overcome a start to the season which saw them take just two points from the first ten games of the season and now sit in 15th place with six games to go.
Beattie feels that the landscape has changed thanks to the exploits of his men.
“We were written off by probably the whole country and now we’re in a position where we can go 12 points clear of Northampton if we get the desired result,” he said. “We’re never going to lose focus of where we are at but it’s always nice to remind the boys of their achievements.
“I think if the league had started in October we’d be sixth. There would be a hell of a lot of teams below us with far bigger and better budgets than we have and it’s time to make us focus on where we are now. We’re still in a relegation battle but if we can get the right result on Saturday it makes the right statement and carries on the fantastic season that the boys are having.
“Until it’s mathematically proven that we’re out of it then we’ll still be in it. I’m not naïve, I’m quite realistic and with the budget we’ve got the way the lads have performed this season has been absolutely tremendous.”
Stanley haven’t lost at the Store First Stadium since mid-February and have lost just one of their last seven home and away.
Despite being one of the division’s form sides, Beattie insists nobody is getting carried away with how they are doing.
“We just try to keep the momentum and hard work going,” he continued. “It’s great to watch the lads perform and get their just rewards for all the hard work they’ve put in. I can’t praise them highly enough but they know that with that praise comes a certain level of expectation from myself.
“They’ve set the standards this season and they have to maintain them until the end of the season. I’ve told them that if they maintain that hard work and that dedication then we won’t be talking about relegation, we’ll be talking about other things.
“We’ve come a long way together. I’ve learned a lot in the last ten months and I’m still learning. I believe that your education never stops. They’ve come a long way as players and people and we’ve come a long way collectively too. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it but I want to make sure we finish it off and do something special.”