Shaun Derry said “it’s time to get nervous again” ahead of Notts County’s penultimate clash of the season against Swindon Town this Saturday.
The Magpies currently sit just inside the relegation zone, one point from safety with two vital fixtures still to play.
A mere month ago Notts were stranded at the foot of League One staring relegation in the face.
But five wins in seven have seen Derry’s men steadily clawing their way to safety and a win this weekend could see them perched precariously above the relegation zone going into the last game of the season.
County boss Shaun Derry said: “I always stressed it would be the last six or seven games of the season where you would get some weird and wonderful results and it’s certainly proven to be the case here.
“Given our recent form I really hope we’ve turned that corner and really realise what it means to be consistent and this large amount of points we’ve amassed the past few games has been down to our character.”
County had to endure a nervy final few minutes in their last league outing against Crawley Town on Monday, holding out for a crucial 1-0 victory courtesy of a Jimmy Spencer header in the first half.
And it is the spirit of his side which could make the difference in County’s remaining two fixtures, according to Derry.
He said: “After the sorry loss to Tranmere many people wrote us off, but on Monday we showed the resolve, determination and sturdiness to hang in there.
“I think the realisation that we can survive has set in now and has become engrained into the players’ mental state, which is great for me as a manager.”
Derry also believes his experience as a player in similar high-pressure situations can inspire his team.
He said: “Although this is an entirely new experience for me as a manager – as a player I’ve always had something to play for, whether its fighting for promotion or battling relegation, so it’s a position in which I can relate to the players.”
Playoff chasers Swindon Town visit Meadow Lane this weekend with much to play for themselves and Derry believes this may work in County’s favour.
“This game means a lot to both teams yet I know my players can really play under pressure, they have been all season.
“Swindon have to win this Saturday, but that’s been our situation for a while now and the players are used to this mentality and have overcome it in recent weeks.”
Derry called on the Meadow Lane faithful to replicate their support in the final home game of the season.
“We had the highest attendance of the season against Crawley and they were one of the reasons we were able to hang on for the win.
“From the moment I arrived they’ve been absolutely behind us – we’ve had some darks days this season but they’ve been with us every step of the way.”
County have no fresh injury doubts ahead of this weekends clash with on-loan Bolton midfielder Josh Vela set to return to the fold after missing out against Crawley on Monday.
Derry was quick to praise his players in regards to their recent resurgence in the league.
He said: “The players have to take a huge amount of credit as they’re the ones that go out and put in the performances every Saturday afternoon and Tuesday night.
“It’s all about clichés at this stage of the year and I’ve just told them to concentrate on their own game and if we approach the match in the right way then we’ll do well.”
Notts County’s match against Swindon Town kicks off at 3pm this Saturday at Meadow Lane.
Alex Clarke @alex.clarke881
Peter Adams @peterjayadams