Paul Cook insists Accrington Stanley’s season will not be allowed to fade into obscurity.
Defeat at home to Oxford on Tuesday made it back-to-back losses for the Reds, who remain 13th in the League Two rankings.
But, ahead of this weekend’s home clash against AFC Wimbledon, Cook said the final seven games of the campaign remained hugely significant.
"A couple of results have gone against us in the space of a week, and now we’re looking to win a couple of games ourselves," said Cook.
"We don’t want this season to just peter out and everyone say ‘oh, we’re just looking forward to next season’. We’re not, we’re trying to win a couple of games now and that starts on Saturday with our game against Wimbledon.
"We’ll set ourselves up to attack them and have a real go, look to take the chances we create and certainly work hard on trying to keep a clean sheet."
Cook was forced to field a patched-up side against Oxford in light of Danny Coid’s cruciate knee ligament damage and Rob Keiran’s ankle injury, both suffered at Dagenham last weekend.
He was able to extend the loan of Sunderland’s Michael Liddle, who went straight into a backline also featuring frontman Craig Lindfield.
Nevertheless, Cook is happy to play with the hand he’s been dealt.
"It’s a great learning curve for me, a chance to have a look at other teams in the league and at our players," he said.
"It’s easy to come in as a manager and say ‘this needs changing and that needs changing’, but at the end of the day we have lost a lot of important players. Dean Winnard, Sean
Hessey, Andy Procter and Bryan Hughes were all serious players at this club, first team starters.
"But rather than harp on about that we just want to concentrate on getting the injured players fit again and challenging for a place in the team, while at the same time looking to get the young lads coming through, which is an important part of what we’re doing."
With a threadbare squad to choose from, Cook handed a debut to youth team skipper Ryan Hopper, who came on as a second-half substitute. His introduction was exactly the kind of positive move Cook is looking for in the closing weeks of the season.
"Ryan Hopper came on for us against Oxford and I thought he was different class," said Cook. "He gets about the pitch really well, he’s energetic, enthusiastic and passes the ball effectively.
"It would be nice to see him start a game and that’s the kind of thing we’re looking to do in the remainder of the season – we’re not letting the campaign just peter out. When lads come into the team you are just looking for them to take their opportunity, and that was a really pleasing aspect of Tuesday’s performance.
"We kept going to the end, looking to move the ball from side to side rather than just lumping it down the middle of the field.
"We want to get our flair players on the ball and try to get our fullbacks pushing on, and if we can make that our style of play in home games then we’ll win more games than we lose.
"It’s all about concentrating on what we’re trying to do between now and the end of the season. We’ve been in for five or six weeks now and we’ve had some horrific injuries and suspensions to contend with, but that’s football."