Marcus Law piled the praise on his Kettering Town players after their 3-1 success over Biggleswade Town but then laid down the gauntlet to them ahead of what could be a pivotal month.
Goals from Mathew Stevens, Aaron O’Connor and Orrin Pendley secured another win at Latimer Park as the Poppies stayed on top of the Evo-Stik South League Premier.
But boss Law was quick to lay out his target for his team in February.
While the destination of the title lies in the hands of other teams at this stage, securing a play-off place is most definitely in Kettering’s.
And that is where Law’s focus lies for the next 30 days or so.
“I thought it was a very competent performance and I thought it was a fair result,” the Poppies boss said.
“We are a bit disappointed to have conceded the goal but when you are 3-0 up at this time of year, it’s about game management and we probably won’t be as adventurous.
“That’s probably not what the fans want to hear but when the opposition have nothing to lose and throw men forward, you have to make sure you see it out and we did that.
“I thought we had the hardest test out of all the teams at the top this weekend and I am delighted with the way we came through it.
“I was really pleased with the work we put in and now I have set the challenge for February.
“I would like to see us as near to securing a play-off place as possible by the end of the month.
“We have got to play teams who are on the cusp of the play-off positions.
“We go to Royston next weekend and play them at home in February as well and they are a team who have a lot of good players and they have been in good form recently.
“And we also have to go to Tiverton, which will be an extremely tough trip on a Tuesday night.
“We will really have to be at our best to hit the target I have set but if we can then we will be going into March in a really strong position.”
The win over Biggleswade may well have come at a price though as Ben Milnes was stretchered off following a heavy challenge early in the game.
The midfielder was taken to hospital to have the injury assessed.
And Law added: We will have to wait and see how Ben is but he went to hospital.
“The lad followed through with the challenge on him and he just couldn’t get out of the way.
“It’s really unfortunate for him but hopefully it will be something he can come back quickly from.”
Law, meanwhile, confirmed central defender Tom Marshall missed the game due to illness.