WITH our form having turned the corner, a week off was probably the last thing that Tommy Wright and the players would have wanted. Our trip to Tamworth was looking quite favourable with the home side’s recent form being pretty dire while we’ve been flying of late. Sadly, even with an all-weather pitch at the disposal of the Staffordshire side, the weather got the better of the fixture as it did with all the games in the National League North on Saturday.

With a week off, it provides a bit of time to reflect on just how remarkable our turnaround has been in just over a month. If we do avoid relegation, which is looking a lot more likely than it did a few weeks ago, the 3-2 win at Leamington will probably be seen as the turning point for our season. Under Wright, one win in 12 games prior to that match left few feeling positive about our outlook. In most games we had good spells, but what stood out was our inability to stay switched on for a whole game. We were performing in 20-minute bursts against some of the best teams in the league, but keeping that up for 90 minutes looked very difficult. Confidence among the players was clearly shot to pieces, a feeling that was increasingly shared with the fans.

One bustling run and a drilled finish at Leamington later and confidence has returned by the bucket load. It’s difficult to properly comprehend just how much the confidence on and off the pitch has improved in such a short space of time. Blyth Spartans and Bradford Park Avenue were swept aside with clean sheets as an added bonus and our outlook couldn’t have been more different to that in mid-January. All of a sudden, players were actually fulfilling their potential. They stayed switched on for the full 90 minutes and even more importantly, there were no mistakes. It’s amazing what we can achieve when we don’t hand goals on a plate to the opposition, something we had become a little too used to for most of the season.

A flu-riddled blip at Brackley was disappointing, but what really made up for that defeat was the manner in which we bounced back against Kidderminster the following week. A month earlier we would probably have gone on to lose that game following a heavy defeat the week before, but all of a sudden Darlo are a completely different beast and we’re not as easy to tame.

With a run of very winnable fixtures during March, there’s a reasonable chance we can go into April with a weight lifted off our shoulders. The sooner we can secure our place in this league for next season, the better. With Wright having already undertaken a successful mid-season rebuild, the earlier we know what division we will be in next season will give the manager a better chance to continue reshaping the side. Having the funds at his disposal is important and as such the club making early-bird season tickets available at this time is a good move. David Johnston has regularly highlighted how important cash flow is to the club. The Five Hundred club members stepped up to the plate to help pay off some of our historical debt and now the opportunity is there for season ticket holders to help improve the club’s cash flow position. Good season ticket sales at this point will hopefully give Wright the financial backing needed to make his mark in the summer.