Brady Stone hopes Ely City have turned a corner in their season ahead of a tough trip to title chasers Great Yarmouth Town on Saturday (3pm).
The Robins claimed their third win in a row after beating Haverhill Borough 1-0 at the weekend, which has seen them climb up to seventh in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division table.
Ely boss Stone described it as their best performance of the campaign so far, with a second-half strike from Alex Knowles enough to extend his side’s winning run.
“Saturday was the best we’ve played this season,” Stone said. “In the first-half we could have been four or five-nil up.
“We knew that we had a tough start so to win three on the bounce is pleasing.
“The players have put their heads down and worked hard. I’ve got a squad of 16 now and the players know if they don’t play well then they won’t start.
“Last season I had a squad of 12 to 13 so everyone was playing and there wasn’t really any competition for places.”
City’s win over Haverhill on Saturday followed victories over Diss Town (2-1) and Team Bury (3-0), and has been the perfect response to last month’s 4-1 defeat at Stowmarket Town, which saw the Robins finish with nine men.
“It’s been up and down for us,” admitted Stone, who was also sent off during that frustrating afternoon at Greens Meadow. “We’ve set ourselves targets and the boys are realistic with what we can do.
“I still think we’ll be up there this season in and around the top four or five. If we can’t get promotion this year we’ll go again next year.
“I’m very happy with the squad I’ve got at the moment. At training on Tuesday all the players were high on confidence and are buzzing to play.”
Ely face one of their toughest games of the season so far when they visit Great Yarmouth this weekend, and Stone expects the Bloaters to be one of the main sides challenging for promotion into the Premier Division this season.
“They’re one of the favourite sides to go up,” he said. “With games like this one on Saturday you need to be solid and hard to break down, and then hope your quality comes through and you can get a goal or two to win the game.”
City will be boosted by the return of defenders Ed Richardson and James Seymour from suspension as well as first choice goalkeeper Craig Galbraith this weekend.
n Newmarket Town will also be hoping to continue their recent good form, when they host Gorleston in the Premier Division on Saturday (3pm).
Kevin Grainger’s side moved up to fourth in the Premier Division table at the weekend, after Ross Paterson struck the winner to help them beat FC Clacton 1-0.
The Jockeys, who are unbeaten in their last three outings, host Walsham-le-Willows in the Suffolk Premier Cup on Tuesday (7.45pm).