Tom Wade insists there is a lot more to come from Blyth Spartans.
The Croft Park club are eighth in Evo-Stik Premier, one point outside the play-off positions.
That represents a substantial improvement on most observers’ pre-season predictions, with many tipping Blyth for relegation.
However, Wade and assistant Colin Myers have slowly built an impressive blend of experienced campaigners and enthusiastic youth.
Despite a testing week that saw Spartans’ first defeat of 2014, their first at Croft Park since October and part of their pitch dug up and stolen by vandals, spirits remain high at the Northumberland club.
They play host to third-placed AFC Fylde today, a team Wade rates more highly than any in the division.
And far from being daunted by the prospect, the Blyth manager insists his own side can become even better yet.
“We’ve been in good form for a while now,” said Wade.
“We started the season slowly, had a bit of a slump and the doom and gloom merchants were fearing the worst.
“But we’ve been doing well recently, and there’s a good atmosphere around the club now.
“The lads enjoy it, they want to be here. They’re honest kids who train hard and work hard. They go about things in the right way and that’s good for the future of the club.
“The experienced players have helped in that regard too, people like Neal Hooks, Joe Kendrick and Robbie Dale. They’ve helped bring the young lads on.
“We had to scour the area for the best young players.
“We knew they would do OK, we didn’t think they would do as well as they have done and we didn’t think the team would blend as well as it has, as quickly as it has.
“I’ve always tried to build good team spirit, it’s 80 per cent of your game. It gets you through bad games, when you’re not playing that well, and it obviously drives you on when you are playing well.
“We’ve got 17 players now who like being here, that’s the massive difference. You’ve got to take your hat off to the senior players as well, they’ve been a massive part of the development of the young lads.
“They’ve been excellent, superb with the kids. They’ve brought them on, and they all feel part of the team, which is massive. I think there’s a lot more to come from the lads.”
Right-back Shaun Utterson is unavailable, having returned to the USA.