Two wins in 48 hours have put Matlock Town on top of the league as they embark on their FA Cup adventure at home to fellow Evo-Stik Premiership side Worksop Town on Saturday.
Matlock went into Sunday’s match against FC United of Manchester in 11th place, but an amazing 5-1 win catapulted them to fourth.
Then a stern challenge from struggling Frickley Athletic at home on Tuesday night was overcome with a 1-0 win, which puts Town on top due to a goal difference.
Boss Mark Atkins said his team merited its lofty league position, but wanted to keep players’ and fans’ feet on the ground.
He said: “We approach each game as it comes round and there’s a long way to go. The season’s only six games old.
“The lads deserve it, but we must not sit back for we need to pick up a lot more points. Everybody though should be proud of the team, they’re giving everything they’ve got.”
Atkins believed the scoreline at FC United had flattered his side.
“The sending off of the United player with half an hour gone changed the game, but we defended very well and looked solid while we created some good chances.
“Any 5-1 win has to be classed as excellent, but a 2-1 or 3-1 win would probably have been a more fair reflection on the game.”
The manager reckoned that the motivation shown by his side paved the way for victory over Frickley.
“Games against Frickley are always difficult, they always give 100 per cent and are difficult to play against. We played some good football at times but it was our desire which dragged us through and the will to battle is vital in this league.”
Worksop arrive at Matlock on Saturday just outside of the play-off places after a 3-0 defeat at North Ferriby on Tuesday night.
Atkins has done his homework on the Tigers, who include former Matlock winger Jamie Jackson.
“When the draw came out you hope for a lesser team at home.
“That didn’t happen, but to be home is all you can ask for in the circumstances. We’ve got to be positive and get through this tie.
“Worksop have been spending money, they’ve got a good squad, they’re a force to be reckoned with and it’ll be a tough game.
“But I’ve seen them on a couple of occasions this season and we’re more than capable of getting a result.”
If Saturday’s tie ends all square, the replay is set for Worksop’s temporary home at Cannon Park in Retford at 7.45pm on Wednesday.
Injuries – including a potentially-serious one to goalkeeper Adam Sollitt – are hitting Atkins’ squad.
There was as much joy from the news that Sollitt had been discharged from hospital a couple of hours after Sunday’s match as there was with the 5-1 victory – which came thanks to braces from Ross Hannah and Dene Cropper, plus a James Knowles strike.
Knowles also bagged the winner against Frickley on Tuesday.
Atkins said: “Luckily Soll had just mild concussion. He seems okay now, but we’ll just have to see how things go ahead of Saturday.”
Striker Colin Marrison will be out for a fortnight with a leg injury.
Mark Haran’s dislocated shoulder, which he put back in against Mickleover, is still sore, but Atkins hopes his assistant manager will recover in time to face Worksop.
Midfielder Kris Bowler missed the Frickley game, but should be fit for the FA Cup tie.