Tuesday's hard-earned draw at Brighton was a result most fans would have shaken hands on in advance and perhaps gave the most accurate indication yet of where we are as a club.
Following the two scrappy but well ground-out home wins over bottom-five outfits, a trip to the Amex to face a side just above us in the scramble for play-off places represented a stiff examination of our slowly blossoming credentials under Michael Appleton.
Perhaps not quite as exacting as the toll on the wallets of the fans who made the midweek haul to the south coast – most of whom will pay through the nose for another big day out on Saturday.
A swift rematch with Gus Poyet’s side after an Ewood draw a couple of weeks ago was the first major test of how Appleton’s remodelled unit would cope away to a side whose fans would expect a result.
The fact that Brighton, a place and two points better off than Rovers, enjoyed greater possession in both games but only managed a point on each occasion by virtue of a penalty – the only goals Rovers have conceded in five outings – tells you this side is more resilient than recent incarnations.
The evening’s other major disappointment – to go with the Vicente spot-kick – was the fact Middlesbrough ended their losing run with a win over Leeds to go six points above us.
I enjoyed an educative pre-game interview on Tuesday night during which he delivered a withering dismissal of the prospects of any of the Portuguese no-hopers – Nuno Gomes honourably excepted.
Most of the sides above Rovers are in league action on Saturday while Rovers have a day out at the Emirates Stadium in round five of the FA Cup.
That match will provide a fascinating distraction, a taste of lost Premier League glamour and perhaps a measure of how much we’ve improved in recent weeks and since our last visit there. You’d settle for a dignified exit.
The FA Cup wins have been useful and, in some ways, important in the sequence of healing the club undertaken by Gary Bowyer and Appleton and it would be nice, even if the run is ended, to come away with heads held high.
Far more important of course, on another busy night of Championship games, is Tuesday’s visit to Hull, anonymous and unremarkable in their 1-0 defeat at Ewood in late summer but much improved under Steve Bruce.
That game and those other fixtures on Saturday and Tuesday should give us a clearer sight of any prospects we have.
by Blue-eyed Boy (The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Accrington Observer or its editor)