John Coleman says he can sense a new-found confidence in his Stanley side’s after a three-game unbeaten start to 2011.
The Reds have moved up from 19th place and two points from the drop zone to 13th spot and six points off the play-offs after winning two and drawing one of their last three League Two clashes.
And with the games now coming thick and fast in January – with fellow play-off chasers Cheltenham tomorrow and Shrewsbury at home on Tuesday night – Coleman is hoping his team can build on that.
"Before the three games against Morecambe, Chesterfield and Bury we would have been happy with seven points but now I think we should have got all nine," said the Reds chief.
"But you don’t always get what you deserve in football and we are now moving in the right direction.
"There is a new-found confidence in the players – you can sense it around the training ground.
"The results have helped and also I think our new training base at Blackburn Rugby Club has helped as the players are now having breakfast and lunch together and they are more of a unit.
"We are always bubbly but I can just sense that the lads are feeling more positive since the new year and have more belief in themselves. I just hope it can continue.
"Being unbeaten in 2011 is something to build on and I just hope we can keep it going. The games are coming thick and fast now and, when you are finding a bit of form, you don’t mind that. I can’t wait now for the matches."
Stanley are getting closer to sealing a deal for Burnley loan defender Kevin Long until the end of the season – the last game of his third month-loan spell is tomorrow.
"We are in the process of extending his loan until the end of the season," said the Reds chief.
But the deal to bring Ian Craney to the Crown Ground on a permanent basis is still up in the air.
Craney played for Fleetwood last Saturday – he still has two years left on his contract at Highbury – and is still their player despite Stanley being desperate to sign the 28-year-old for a deal which would be longer than the end of the season.
"We have drawn a blank at the moment. Fleetwood are happy for him to go and Ian is desperate to come to us but finances are the stumbling block as we couldn’t meet his wages in a loan deal. It’s a stalemate and Ian is desperate for it to be resolved.
"I know what Ian is all about so, if I was bringing him back to the club permanently, it would be a longer deal than just the end of the season."
With the January transfer window open, every player is in the shop window and Coleman admits a few of his players have put in eye-catching performances recently.
"Jimmy Ryan has had a good season and has been playing well, as has Charlie Barnett. I think he has been fantastic in the last three games.
"We also have Luke Joyce who is a good player but is unable to get a start at the moment. There is healthy competition and some very good players here."
Winger Chris Turner comes back into contention after having a scan on an ankle injury. Nothing has been found and he has resumed training this week.
Tom Smyth is out on loan at the moment and Coleman admitted: "We are in talks with a couple of clubs about other players going out as we have players here who are keen to play."
And asked about whether Stanley are looking to make any more additions to his squad he said "You never say never."
Meanwhile Coleman admits he is hopeful his side can continue their unbeaten run at Cheltenham tomorrow and avenge the 4-2 defeat at the Crown¿Ground earlier in the season.
"We definitely owe them one,"¿he added. "We only performed in fits and starts when we played them last time and we gifted them their goals.
"They have got two forwards who are a real handful. Brian Smikle is a good player while Wes Thomas has scored a lot of goals for them.
"They are well-organised and within touching distance of the play-offs, which is where we feel we should be.
"We are on a bit of a run now and we want to keep it going.
"The table is looking better for us but we have got to get our heads down and try and win games.
"The next test for us is back-to-back wins which we haven’t had yet this season."
STANLEY’S reserve game against Macclesfield in midweek was postponed due to the sudden death of Town midfielder Richard Butcher, who passed away on Monday. The second string’s next game is at home to Morecambe on Wednesday 26 January.