Kettering Town boss Marcus Law is expecting a “big race” for the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division play-off places during the second half of the season.
With leaders Poole Town well clear at the summit, the next 12 teams are separated by just 10 points as the battle to finish in the top five intensifies.
The Poppies currently sit in ninth but are just two points behind fifth-placed Hungerford Town and three behind Hitchin Town and Redditch United who occupy second and third.
Kettering are preparing for a trip to Slough Town this weekend to take on a team, who despite their position just below mid-table, will still have hopes of finishing in the play-offs themselves.
And Law has called on his team to make a quick start tomorrow (Saturday) after he admitted last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Bedworth United was a case of “two points dropped”.
“The league is proving to be quite difficult because every week any side is capable of beating another, so much so that teams who were down at the bottom are now in the hunt for the play-offs,” the Poppies manager said.
“There are a lot of other clubs, including Slough, who are saying the same thing as us.
“They, like us, want to be that team who push on and move into the play-off places. It’s going to be a big race to get in there.
“We felt it was two points dropped last weekend and now we have to bounce back.
“I think we have proved to be slow starters in matches and that cost us at Bedworth so we will be looking to start well on tomorrow.
“Other than that, we just have to cut out the small errors we have been making.”
The Poppies were not helped by first-half injuries to captain Brett Solkhon and fellow defender Chris Carruthers at Bedworth.
But Law is hoping both will be fit enough to be back in the frame at Slough.
“We will look at them again ahead of the game and come to a decision,” he added.
“But we are hopeful that both of them will be okay.”
Fans travelling to the game are reminded that Slough play at Beaconsfield SYCOB’s Holloways Park ground.