Gary Mills insists Gateshead can cause an FA Cup upset at Oxford United today.
It does not necessarily follow he would consider victory a shock.
The Tynesiders travel to the Kassam Stadium – in the first round of the FA Cup – unbeaten and with six clean sheets in seven games and with eight wins in their last 10.
Pleasingly, he says, results have been both fully-deserved and matched by performances.
As such, Mills views this afternoon’s challenge as an important and enlightening staging post on his new club’s recent progress.
He and assistant Darren Caskey have spent long hours honing their side’s defensive shape and discipline, maintaining a basic framework the players have bought into wholeheartedly.
So long as they stick to it, Mills says, there is no reason why they cannot beat a side second in League Two.
“We’re looking forward to it, it’s a good game for us at this stage,” said Mills, who is without Luke O’Brien, Richard Brodie and Marcus Maddison.
“We’ve trained well this week, having picked up a good result last weekend.
“We were the better side and the nice thing with the results we’re getting is the performance levels as well.
“We’ve all been in games when we didn’t deserve to win but have or when we deserved to but didn’t.
“So far, every result we’ve had we’ve deserved.
“We have a work ethic now, the lads know their disciplines, they know their jobs.
“That’s the most important thing. What they were like before is irrelevant to me but what they do know now is what their jobs are within the team.
“There are no excuses, and if everybody does their job then we can go and win the game.”
Expanding on that theme, Mills added: “It’s just made simple to them, it’s not confusing.
“It’s basic, whether they’re a centre-back, a midfield player, a striker or a goalkeeper.
“It’s about shape and being organised, with and without the ball. Both are equally important, because we can’t do anything good with the ball if we haven’t got it.
“So the players have worked hard at it and I think they’ve grown into it.
“They’re enjoying working hard and it’s true what they say – work hard and you enjoy it more. That’s proving to be the case.”