Ian Craney is raring to get back into what he believes is a team capable of automatic promotion this season.
Craney has been out since October with a broken leg and ankle but returned to score two goals in Stanley’s 3-0 Lancashire Senior Cup quarter-final victory over Oldham on Tuesday.
And he hopes to be challenging for a place in the starting line-up as the ninth placed Reds, who are two points off the top seven, look to get into the League Two play-off places and towards the top three.
Stanley take on Barnet tomorrow aiming to make it 11 league games unbeaten and Craney says everyone at the club is buzzing.
"Confidence is sky high at the moment and we are all just looking forward to the next games," said the 29-year-old.
"Everything is falling into place for our February and March push.
"If you look at our fixtures, we go into every game knowing we are hard to beat and we are taking our chances. We are in a great position.
"I remember last year getting into the play-off places for the first time, I think it was against Bradford, and hopefully we can do that soon and take it from there.
"I wouldn’t rule out automatic promotion with the way we are playing and the belief at the club."
Craney admits the competition for places is hotting up – with him in contention and Danny Coid also scoring a wonder goal against the Latics – despite Jayden Stockley returning to Bournemouth this week following his three-goal loan spell with the Reds.
"I felt great in the game on Wednesday and, while I am a confident person, to score two goals was a real boost," said the vice-captain.
"I have felt it over the last few months, training on my own, watching the lads play and it does knock you and you do need a lift.
"But now I believe I am not far away. I have played a behind-closed-doors friendly with Liverpool, played 90 minutes against Oldham and hopefully will get another friendly next week and then I want to be challenging.
"Like any footballer, I don’t want to be on the bench but it is hard to argue at the moment as those playing keep winning. But the moment I am fully fit I will be the first knocking on the gaffer’s door telling him to pick me!"
Craney acknowledges that the Reds have had a bit of luck along the way – including a Kevin McIntyre deflected goal and an own goal in Stanley’s victory over fellow play-off chasers Burton last Friday.
"I think we are getting the luck that we didn’t have at the start of the season but sometimes, you make your own luck," he said.
"That win at Burton was massive for us as they were four points in front of us and we closed the gap.
"And, while Kevin’s goal was important, Ian Dunbavin’s save from around two yards out when it was 1-0 was one of the best I have seen in a long time. Like I say, we are strong all over the park and long may it continue."
Craney says that the Reds management team won’t let the players underestimate 20th placed Barnet tomorrow, who have the top scorer in League Two in their ranks in Izale McLeod, with 19 goals in all competitions this season.
"We know they will be a threat and the gaffer and Jimmy Bell won’t let anyone at the club get too carried away as there is still a long way to go," said Craney.
"The gaffer hasn’t let the lads rest and has been whipping them all week so I know everyone will be up for it, especially as we could go into the play-offs with a win."
New loan signing Toto Nsiala, from Everton, went to Derby hospital on Friday after a clash of heads in the Burton win.
He returned to Goodison for treatment but is back with the Reds and is expected to have a fitness test today.
"He is a great lad – he has settled in well with us," said Craney.
"He went back onto the pitch for a few minutes after banging his head and said he had double vision but during that time, he won about six headers.
"We will have to bang him on his head before the game tomorrow!"
Sean Hessey missed the Brewers game with injury.
The Reds will host Wigan in the semi-final of the Lancashire Cup.