Dean Thomas insists Kettering Town will do their talking on the pitch as they head into a series of crucial clashes in the Calor League Division One Central.
The Poppies, who sit just outside the play-off places in sixth place, put their 12-match unbeaten run the line at third-placed Barton Rovers on Saturday while matches against other high-fliers including Slough Town and Daventry Town follow during the Christmas period.
And boss Thomas knows this weekend’s clash will have an extra edge to it with Barton being one of a number of clubs to have taken a swipe at the Poppies following their recent squad building, which included the addition of former Rovers centre-half Tommy Hull.
But the Kettering boss insists any criticism of his club only “inspires” him even more.
“A few clubs have been quick to criticise us but that only inspires me and the lads,” Thomas said.
“It is part and parcel of the game and, to be honest, it does my teamtalk for me.
“We haven’t been drawn into it, we have gone about our business quietly and we have done our talking on the pitch. That’s what we must carry on doing.
“We have taken care of ourselves and kept our mouths shut and that’s the way I want it to stay.
“I know the players are excited about the next two weeks and I certainly am.
“The teams at the top end of the table have made their intentions clear and by the time the new year arrives, the picture will be a lot clearer.
“Barton beat us 3-0 in our first home game of the season and it was comprehensive.
“But plenty has changed since then and we will be looking to rectify that result on Saturday.”
Thomas, meanwhile, has confirmed he would still like to sign one more centre-forward after re-signing central defender Dan Crowie, who was with the Poppies last season, from St Neots Town.
“You are always looking to improve,” Thomas said. “We are talking to another club about a centre-forward but I am very happy with our squad.
“It has gelled well after a lot of changes and the lads are enjoying their football. The performances and results prove that.”.