JASON Bristow says his Basingstoke Town side must concentrate on making themselves difficult to beat as they prepare for a vital part of the season.
The Camrose club are due to play six games in the 18 days between Saturday’s trip to Hornchurch and New Year’s Day, a run of games that could define their season.
String together some good results and they could shoot up the table, moving closer to the play-off places. However, another run of defeats would leave them facing a relegation scrap in 2013.
Bristow said: “We have got a couple of tough away fixtures now and it’s a big month. We have got to look to progress and it’s important that we become a hard side to beat.
“That might be grinding out results away from home and getting three points whenever we can. We have shown in recent games that we have got plenty of players in the squad who are capable of putting up a good fight.”
Town remain in the Blue Square Bet South relegation zone – but they snapped an eight-game winless run by beating Tonbridge Angels 1-0 at the Camrose on Saturday, giving Bristow cause for optimism.
“We are looking up rather than behind us, that is the mood we are in,” he said. “If you look at the table, two wins could take us up to 10th.
“Looking at the table is a positive because a couple of wins would get us in a good position. Of course we have to take it game by game and we have only won one – but it’s important to realise that it’s still all to play for.”
Victory in north east London on Saturday would move Town up at least one place in the table as Hornchurch are just two points ahead of them. However, Basingstoke were very much second best when the sides met at the Camrose back in September, Hornchurch winning the game 2-0.
“They did a job on us and it was a poor performance that was the beginning of a bad run,” Bristow added. “We do not owe them one though, we owe ourselves a performance where we do ourselves justice.”
Bristow is hoping to welcome back full-backs Matt Warner and Robert Rice after injury, while centre-back Ross Adams could feature after being named on the bench last week.
He will be without striker Delano Sam-Yorke, who serves the final game of a three-match ban, and midfielder Jide Ogunbote, who is still out with a leg injury, but other than that, there is a full deck to pick from.
“We have options all over the pitch because we almost have a full squad to pick from,” Bristow said. “It’s going to be a tough choice because we have options on both sides of the pitch for the first time in a while.”