Buxton boss Martin McIntosh says he has been delighted with the start his side has made to the Evo-Stik Premier Division season as he prepares them for FA Cup action this weekend.
A 3-2 home defeat to Stourbridge on Saturday was followed by a 4-2 success at Stamford on Tuesday night, meaning Buxton sit third going into Saturday’s cup tie with Ramsbottom United.
And McIntosh says there is plenty to be positive about given the way the Bucks have begun the campaign.
“Before we began the season, if we’d been offered third place after eight games there’s no question we’d have taken it,” he said.
“The thing to bear in mind is that so far, the only difference between ourselves and leaders Blyth has been a 94th minute winner for them against us in a game we could well have won, so it shows that there are fine lines and that we fully deserve to be where we are.
“The consistency has been excellent and although one or two games have seen us below par, to have won five out of eight is a good return.”
Saturday’s loss to Stourbridge saw the Bucks lead twice but eventually succumb to two goals in the last 20 minutes.
McIntosh said: “Even though we were in front twice, I felt Saturday was probably our poorest display so far.
“We lacked our usual energy and workrate. There were eight or nine players who I felt below their usual levels and when that’s the case you’ve usually got no chance.
“I asked for a response from the players at Stamford and certainly got that.
“We had a lot more energy about us and if anything it makes Saturday’s result that bit more frustrating as it showed me what we’re capable of doing if we’re in the right shape.”
With such a good start in the bag, McIntosh doesn’t feel there is a need for any change in personnel at this stage, particularly given several key players are still to return from spells on the sidelines.
He added: “We’ve got Alistair Taylor out suspended for three games and have Greg Young and Ashley Worsfold still to return from injury. They are three big players that we have coped well without so you can imagine the effect it could have when they return.”
Saturday’s visit of Ramsbottom in the FA Cup will be the second time this season the two sides have met.
McIntosh’s men won 1-0 at United earlier this season in a match marred by a late brawl involving most of the players on the pitch.
And while a repeat of that incident won’t be welcome this weekend, a similar result and performance would certainly be more to McIntosh’s liking.
He said: “We dominated the game up there and should really have won more convincingly.
“It’s important people don’t take too much notice of Ramsbottom’s league position as although they’re bottom, they’ve lost a lot of games by the odd goal and were only beaten 2-1 at one of the promotion favourites Darlington on Tuesday.
“They’ll be released from the shackles of their league form so we’ll have to make sure we have a similar application to that of Tuesday night rather than last Saturday if we’re going to progress.”
As with most non-league clubs, the prestige and potential revenue stream the FA Cup provides means it is a high priority competition for the Bucks.
McIntosh added: “You’ve only got to look at what happened with Blyth and Warrington last season to see what it can do for any club at our level so we see both the FA Cup and the FA Trophy as very important competitions.”
Should Saturday’s game be drawn, the replay will take place in Lancashire next Tuesday night.