John Clarkson has assured Tiverton Town fans that Saturday’s crucial clash with Paulton Rovers will not dictate the rest of their season.
The Yellows head into the game three places and 10 points behind the visitors.
Tivvy have a poor record against their Somerset opponents having lost six of their last seven contests between the two sides, including a 4-0 defeat in Clarkson’s second league match in charge.
But they are on a six-match unbeaten run, which includes Tuesday’s 2-0 Devon St Luke’s Bowl quarter-final win at Barnstaple Town.
And Clarkson claims that, with so much of the season left to play, there is still plenty of time for either side to put together a concerted title charge.
“It is a big game but it is not the end of the world if we lose,” said Clarkson.
“Merthyr are top now and look to be having a run, but North Leigh have had a run and so have Cirencester.
“Three points would be good but if you go on a run of six, seven or eight games then you will be right up there, no problem.”
Tuesday’s win over Barum gave the manager an opportunity to test players likely to feature against Paulton.
Left-back James Richards could keep his place after following up his goal in Saturday’s 3-0 win at Fleet Town with another long-range effort.
Michael Nardiello also scored to add to the poacher’s goal he bagged at the weekend – his first since returning to Ladysmead.
Max Kowal scored his maiden goal in Yellow on Saturday, and he and Nardiello could feature with Matt Wright suspended and suffering from a hamstring injury.
New signing Aiden Chainey, 19, impressed on his debut in midfield on Tuesday shortly after signing for the club.
Tom Gardner also started for the first time since returning from his honeymoon, and he will partner John Heveran in defence with Matt Villis injured and Ed Palmer suspended.
“We came through Tuesday okay. We have Ed and Wrighty missing for Saturday but Tom Gardner came in and looked decent,” Clarkson said.
“I think he needed that game before Saturday and he will slot in with John Heveran next to him at the back.
“The first goal was a really good 20-yarder from James Richards – it was a very good goal,” continued Clarkson.
“Nards finished off a good team move. He is looking like he is back to full sharpness so that is good. We had Dean Stevens and Aiden playing and they both did very well too.
“I don't think they had a shot at goal in the first half. They put up more of a fight in the second but we saw the game out. It was a very, very good performance.
“In the first half we could have scored a lot more. The pitch made ours look good – it was like trying to play in glue.”