United’s six-game unbeaten run has helped them to maintain their top three status, with determination and energy evident in abundance from a squad that is doing everything it can to make this season one to remember.
“It’s been really positive, but I know people can get a little bit deluded when you’re up at the top and think that things should just happen,” manager Paul Simpson.
“It doesn’t just happen. We came up against a Stevenage side who wanted to do everything they could to spoil the game, and to waste time - 41 minutes of ball in play for the whole game, that’s the least we’ve had all season.
“It’s difficult, it’s tough, and also they’re a good side. They’re good at doing what they do. We then go to Bradford on a Tuesday night and they’re another good side with some really good individuals.
“I’m absolutely delighted with the way the players have gone about it in the last two games. They’ve shown us that desire to protect their final third and to make emergency blocks, and all we’re asking is that we’re better in possession.
“We’re the leading goalscorers in the division so we’re not doing a lot wrong on that side of it either. What we have to do is stay nice and calm, don’t start to get panicky just because it’s two nil-nil draws, it’s also two defeats in 12 games and six unbeaten.
“We’re ok, we’re in a good position. It’s in our hands, we’ve got all of the teams up there to play, and they’re all great games to look forward to.
“I keep saying it, but nobody expected us to be here, and if they did at the start of the season then they were in cuckoo land.
“These players have done absolutely fantastically for us and what we want to make sure is that we go about it in the right way through these last nine games and give it our best shot as we look to achieve something.”
On a midweek game that was really good to watch, he added: “I’m not one for nil-nil draws, I’ll be honest with you, but I thought that was a really entertaining game.
“I said on the night it was two teams slugging it out and trying to get a victory. I haven’t seen what Mark Hughes said after the game, but I know that he said they dominated the whole 90 minutes.
“I’m afraid I’m going to have to disagree with him because I thought the first half was one where we had great control in the game. We caused them problems and we made them change their shape, they tried to match us up in midfield, and we were on top for that half.
“Give Bradford their due, they absolutely battered us in the second half and but for a goalkeeper doing the simple things well, and with defenders defending for their lives, we’d have probably lost that one.
“Having said that, we could have nicked it at the end as well, because of all of the hard work that had gone before. It was a proper League Two game of football that I thought was good to watch and, if we do it right at Gillingham, it could be really big result for us.”
The one negative from Bradford was the reports of over the top abuse from a very small number of people.
“I don’t really know if anything’s being done about it to be honest,” he confirmed. “We’ve had something back at us where one of our own fans has said something to the assistant referee, unfortunately.
“It’s difficult for me to criticise other fans when we have our fans causing us problems as well. We’re getting huge numbers and, as I said on Tuesday, it’s a very small minority who are giving their clubs and our club issues to deal with.
“At Bradford I think it was a line of four, possibly five, young lads who were giving me – I won’t call it stick, because I’ve had that through my whole career, since 1982 from opposing fans, and at times from my own fans, and I’ve certainly had it in management.
“I can deal with all of that, I’ve got thick enough skin to not worry about that. But when it goes over the line and it becomes a little bit more than just stick, that’s not acceptable.
“I reported it to a steward, nothing happened, so I informed the fourth official and they were more worried about me reacting. I’m not going to react to a group of young nuggets, that’s not in my remit to do that.
“It’s just totally unacceptable, but we’ve got to make sure we get our own house in order as well. We have to make sure our fans are right because there’s no point in me piping up about other fans shouting obscenities when ours are doing the same.
“Let’s sort ourselves out, and I hope the FA deal with the situation I had to deal with because the chances are that we will have to be dealt with as well.”