IT’S a big test for Accrington Stanley over the next two games as they look to continue their Christmas cheer.
The 2-1 home win over Chesterfield on Saturday has made sure the Reds remain in mid-table and they will be looking to enter the New Year at the top end of League Two.
Stanley face Shrewsbury at home tomorrow before their Boxing Day clash at Grimsby, who are beginning to find their form.
John Coleman’s side will be out for revenge over play-off hopefuls the Shrews who beat them earlier this season.
And assistant boss Jimmy Bell is hoping his side have turned the corner with their home form as, after four losses on the trot, the win over Chesterfield was a major boost.
"It was a relief," said Bell. "The lads put in a massive performance.
"They are a good bunch of lads, we have good players here and they have proved it.
"Now we have got to play like that every time we are at home."
Shrews boss Gary Peters will be looking to arrest his own side’s slump as they have lost their last three games on their travels.
Peters is currently suffering from strike problems as Stuart Nicholson - who scored against Stanley earlier this season - has returned to main club West Brom, ex-Burnley hitman Andy Cooke is on his way back from a four month injury lay-off leaving just Michael Syme and Dave Hibbert as the frontman.
Peters had made no secret of the fact he wants to invest in a striker in the January transfer window and is an admirer of Stanley’s Paul Mullin.
However, midfielder Ben Davies has returned to the Shrews team following a five month lay off with an Achilles injury and scored two goals in their 4-0 demolition of Dagenham at the weekend.
Peters may make changes though after admitting that Accrington is an "awkward" place to come to.
Stanley are hoping to have a full strength team to choose from apart from long term injury victims Kenny Arthur and captain Peter Cavanagh.
And they warmed up for the weekend’s clash with a behind-closed-doors friendly with Blackburn Rovers at Brockhall on Tuesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, it is a trip to Grimsby Town on Boxing Day (Wednesday) who have started to turn their own stuttering form around. Alan Buckley’s side have won their last two matches as they battle to avoid a relegation battle.
And the Reds are gearing up for a busy January once the window opens.
Chairman Eric Whalley has said several players will go with Coleman looking at a winger, defender and a left back.
In October, the Observer reported that Coleman would be interested in a loan deal for former winger Gary Roberts, now at Ipswich, as he has slipped out of the reckoning at the Championshop club.
Jim Magilton said he wanted the 23-year-old to stay with the Tractor Boys but now he is willing to listen to offers for Roberts with a couple of League One clubs also interested.
* STANLEY’S reserve clash at Chester was postponed on Wednesday night. Their next fixture is not until January.