Mark Hughes says there has only been positive talk at Stanley this week, with their destiny in their own hands.
The 17th placed Reds are in a relegation battle, having won just two league games since Boxing Day, and face a huge game against second-from-bottom Walsall at home on Saturday.
After winning the League Two title last season, Hughes admits it’s been a tough season but they are confident, with five games to go, they can secure League One football for 2019/20.
“I think the momentum from last season helped us have a good start to the season and that usually happens to teams that go up,” said the experienced defender.
“But it has been a tough time since Christmas. Winning games like we did last season makes the job a lot better and when you are losing week in week out, the days are long.
“We are doing everything we can to stay in this league. After everything we have achieved in the last 12 months, it will be a disaster if we go down.
“We have got to be positive and go into every game with no fear.
“We are playing better quality opposition, I think the step up has been a lot bigger than we thought. We need that bit of luck but it’s not just luck, our decision making in both boxes has not been good this season. We can’t put our finger on what has gone wrong but, at the end of the season, we have got to learn from it.
“We can’t dwell on that now, we have to put what’s happened to bed and look at the last five games. I know the manager has high ambitions but it will be a successful season if we stay up.
“Our destiny is in our hands, we have got to be positive and only look forward.”
Hughes knows Walsall’s new manager Martin O’Connor from his time with the Saddlers.
“He was assistant when I was there, it will be tough, he will have them well-drilled and we know between now and the end of the season it won’t be free flowing football and it’s results that matter and we have to make sure we are on the right end of those results.”
The 32-year-old knows Stanley just need to go ahead – and hold onto their lead as they were doing last season.
“Especially at home, we need to get our noses in front. We haven’t done that since Shrewsbury in December and Oxford in February.
“If we can’t do that, we have to deal with setbacks better and not go behind and feel sorry for ourselves.
“You look at Rochdale on Tuesday, they got a goal and then were difficult to break down and we have got to do that in the last five matches.”