Chris Bradshaw wants his Desborough Town team to find out how close they are to the best when they head to ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division champions-elect Peterborough Sports this weekend.
Ar Tarn suffered a rare setback in midweek as they lost 1-0 to Newport Pagnell Town at the Waterworks Field.
But they remain in third place with 10 games to go as they look to make this one of the club’s best league seasons in recent memory.
Sports boast an unbeaten home record and look certain to go on a clinch the title as they sit 11 points clear at the summit.
And Ar Tarn boss Bradshaw simply wants his players to go and find out how close they are to the best the division has to offer.
“For the majority of our games this season we have gone into them as the favourites but that will not be the case tomorrow,” Bradshaw said.
“I have been really pleased with the lads this year and now I want us to go and see how far off the best we actually are.
“Sports are top of the league and unbeaten at home so it is the ultimate test for us.
“The worst case scenario is that we lose, just like most teams have to them.
“But I want our lads to give it a go and we will see what happens.”
Bradshaw conceded his team “fell short” as they suffered just their fourth league defeat of the season on Tuesday night as Newport Pagnell put the disappointment of losing out in the quarter-finals of the FA Vase last weekend behind them.
The Desborough boss added: “It was a disappointing first half.
“We had a couple missing due to them not being available and I didn’t think it would affect us but it did.
“We were a lot better in the second 45 minutes but we didn’t really test their goalkeeper enough.
“It’s not been very often this season that I have been left feeling we fell a bit short but certainly, when it came to the final third, that was the case on Tuesday.
“But Newport are a good side and their FA Vase run has clearly left them in a false position in the league.”
Wellingborough Town are closing in on one of their targets for this season in the UCL Premier Division.
Manager Stuart Goosey saw his team claim a fine 3-0 victory over Oadby Town last weekend to move on to 39 points for the season, one short of their total for the last campaign which saw them battling against the drop for a long time.
The Doughboys are now set to surpass that total but Goosey knows they are in for a tough test this weekend when they take on second-placed Deeping Rangers at the Dog & Duck.
“It was a great win last weekend, it was nice to come away with three goals, three points and a clean sheet,” Goosey said.
“We need one more point to match last season’s total and I am confident we will go on and beat that now, which was one of our targets.
“But it is going to be very difficult on Saturday. Deeping are flying and they gave us a bit of a footballing lesson when we played them on their ground.
“We are in a decent run of form though and as long as we don’t freeze then I think we will be okay.”
Shaun Sparrow believes everyone at Rothwell Corinthians is feeling “reinvigorated” as they bid to secure a top-half finish in the UCL Premier Division.
The joint-boss has admitted his team had been guilty of taking their foot off the gas following a fine first half of the season that saw them comfortably placed in the top half of the table.
But, despite a 3-1 home loss to Wisbech Town last weekend, Sparrow believes Corinthians are returning to their best.
They take on Peterborough Northern Star at Sergeants Lawn tomorrow.
And Sparrow said: “It was a good game against Wisbech and it was one we could have easily won or drawn but unfortunately, we were on the end of a defeat.
“Their third goal was clearly offside but it also came late on when we were throwing the kitchen sink at them to try to get an equaliser.
“Performance-wise, we were happy last weekend and if we carry on like that then we will give ourselves a chance.
“The main aim was to ensure we were safe by the end of March but if we can finish in the top half that moves things forward another step.
“We were probably guilty of taking our foot off the gas around Christmas.
“But there are things happening off the field and I think we all feel reinvigorated.”