Kevin Wilson says the chance of a play-off spot is not yet beyond his Ilkeston FC squad after they returned to winning ways on Monday night.
The odds are still stacked against the Robins for a rise into the top five, but with 33 points still to play for Wilson believes a good run could have those above them looking over their shoulders.
And with a double-header against Whitby Town and Buxton scheduled for the next few days, Wilson says his side’s fate could well be determined by the middle of March.
He said: “We can’t just give up on it. If we play as we know we can then a lot of the games coming up are very winnable and that could make things very interesting.
“We’ve got to keep going and believing. The next two or three games will tell us a lot about what the final seven or eight could be worth to us, so it’s a key time now.”
Wilson was pleased with the way Ilkeston disposed of Nantwich on Monday, an encouraging attacking display seeing the Robins run out comfortable winners.
He said: “We got the ball down and spread it around well which is something we haven’t done as effectively in recent weeks.
“I think not having Gary Ricketts in the side meant we weren’t so easily tempted to go for the aerial route and that actually saw us use the flanks a lot more, with the result being three good goals that could well have been added to.”
Two days previously, Ilkeston had been held to a 1-1 draw at Grantham, a result Wilson was less than impressed with.
He added: “We bossed most of the game, especially in the second-half when I’d told the players to get the ball on the floor more, but we let ourselves down by conceding a poor goal towards the end.”
Defender Joe Maguire is rated as 50/50 for the trip to Whitby on Saturday after injuring his ankle on Monday, while James Reid could well play a part despite a facial injury.
Wilson said: “We played well for 45 minutes at Whitby in the FA Trophy before things fell apart, but they’re on a good run - similar to the one we were on before the cold weather came - so will fancy beating us again.
“Buxton are also climbing and are among the sides we’re competing with for a play-off spot, so there’s lots at stake too in that match on Monday.”