Manager Steve Evans has warned Mansfield Town to be on their mettle as they face a crucial six-game run against sides in the bottom half of League Two.
Despite a tough start to the season against most of the big guns, the Stags have stayed with the pack and are just two points off the play-offs
But manager Evans emphasised the next six were still all highly dangerous opponents, starting with Saturday’s visit of Stevenage.
Stevenage have only won one of their last six League games, but that was against second-placed Accrington Stanley and Evans said: “The one thing you recognise in League Two is that top can beat bottom but bottom can beat top or anyone.
“Just look at the games last weekend, I think only one of the play-off teams won their game. The rest lost or drew. It shows how tough it is in this league.
“Does anyone want to play Barnet right now, who are down there? Does anyone want to play Chesterfield? They are good teams with good players.
“Swindon came here and wiped the floor with us but had to get a 97th minute penalty – and it was never a penalty – against Chesterfield on Saturday, who were unlucky not to win.”
Stags are now seven games unbeaten and Evans added: “I want to be near the top group in the New Year. Any club is allowed to dream, but it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
“We have a new group here. Notts County are top and Kevin Nolan has done a terrific job.
“But it has to be said 99 per cent of that squad was built by the guy they sacked, John Sheridan - that’s just a fact - and tells you that continuity with a set of players will ultimately be more successful than a new group.
“I think we are getting nearer but we’ve still got a long, long way to go.
“I really do believe as the season develops we will get better and stronger. And we will try to make the group a little bit stronger again in January.”