Martin McIntosh is hoping his Buxton players once again respond well to a defeat this weekend as they aim to maintain their position at the top of the Evo-Stik Premier Division.
A fine 3-0 win against the then second-placed side Whitby Town on Saturday was followed up by a 1-0 loss at fifth-placed Warrington on Tuesday night.
Despite that loss, Buxton remain three points clear of Rushall Olympic at the top of the table, and their manager now wants to see a similar reaction to those shown after previous defeats this season.
He said: “After we lost to Coalville and Ilkeston we bounced back and did really well in the next games, so I’ll be looking for a similar kind of response this time.
“I’ve reminded the players of that fact and I’ve no doubt they’ll again want to put what so far this season has been a rare defeat behind them.”
McIntosh was delighted with the display that saw off Whitby on Saturday in front of the Bucks’ biggest home crowd for some time, with just over 600 people at the Silverlands to see goals from Alistair Taylor, Brad Abbott and Niall Doran seal the win.
He said: “It was a fantastic performance from everyone, the fans included. Everyone was superb and the big support really spurred the players on.
“Unfortunately we then couldn’t give those who travelled to Warrington the result they wanted but I wasn’t disappointed with the performance overall.
“They scored against the run of play and I felt we were by far the better team in the first-half but couldn’t convert our chances.”
McIntosh was also quick to defend his players given two of the three defeats so far have come in midweek away games, adding: “It’s tough for lads at this level as they have a day at work and then often have trips of a couple of hours or more to get to away games, sometimes by their own accord like against Warrington where we didn’t take a team coach.
“Every club has the same problem and the lifestyle can be tough sometimes, so it’s hard to come down too much on players in those circumstances.”
In a contrast to the previous week, next up for Buxton are two games against sides struggling at the bottom end of the table.
Frickley Athletic are the hosts on Saturday having been beaten 4-0 at home by fellow strugglers Coalville Town on Tuesday night and who currently occupy 23rd position.
That will be followed by a home game with Stafford Rangers on Tuesday night, the newly-promoted side having won just twice in their opening 13 games and dropped to 20th, although they won 3-0 at home to Marine on Tuesday.
McIntosh said: “To be honest the league hasn’t really settled down into a fair shape yet as lots of teams have games in hand and various other factors have played a part.
“So even though we’ll face two sides lower down the table, that shouldn’t mean anything in terms of how we approach the game.
“Hopefully we’ll have a good following behind us again too.
“Of the 15 games we’ve played so far, nine have been away which is more than anyone else, whilst we’re still unbeaten in six at home, so although there is a very long way to go, if we can keep that kind of form going we can remain in the hunt.”
On the injury front, McIntosh expects to have a full strength team to choose from for the match at Frickley.