Worthing Football Club boss Adam Hinshelwood has warned his side not to rest on their laurels ahead of three successive home matches.
Back-to-back victories over Tonbridge Angels and Folkestone had moved bottom club Worthing to within a point of Tooting and Harlow in the Bostik League Premier Division last week and raised hopes the club could be off the bottom by Christmas.
However, Tooting and Harlow both won on Saturday, when Worthing were without a game, and then Needham Market drew on Tuesday which leaves Worthing four points behind five clubs above them.
Worthing host 17th-placed Thurrock on Saturday (3pm) before the visit of fourth-from-bottom Burgess Hill on Boxing Day (1.30pm) and 16th-placed Lowestoft on December 30.
The fixtures give Worthing the chance to continue to close the gap on the sides above them but Hinshelwood is taking nothing for granted and again emphasised the importance of just taking one game at a time.
He said: “All our focus is on Thurrock as we can’t look too far ahead.
“We’ve just got to keep plugging away and doing what we’ve been doing. We can only focus on ourselves, we’ve had two great wins but that means nothing now if we don’t capitalise with these home games coming up.
“We go into Saturday fully confident but knowing we can’t rest on our laurels as we still need to try to catch the teams above us. It’s very important to come out of the busy Christmas period in and around the group of teams above us.
“We’ve got to keep looking to get better and they’re three massive home games coming up.”
Worthing had just one point from nine games when Hinshelwood returned to the club for his second spell as manager in September. He feels the squad has improved in the three months since but is eager to make sure confidence does not turn into complacency after back-to-back wins.
Hinshelwood said: “We’ve definitely improved since I came back. The group has got better and the players within that have improved too.
“We’ve got competition for places in the squad but we’ve got to make sure we’re at our best in every game to get anything out of it.
“It’s been a good turnaround so far but I always thought it was possible as I had full belief in the players.
“We’ve gone with local lads and given them their chance to see what they can do.
“We’ll be looking to get three points on Saturday now, although won’t look further ahead than that. After two wins, we’ll go into it full of confidence but we can’t get complacent.
“I’ll keep banging the drum to let the boys know we can’t take our foot off the gas as it’s happened on a couple of occasions before and we can’t afford to do that.”