HADLEIGH United manager Stuart Crawford believes now is the time to judge his side, as he targets maximum points from their next two matches, starting with the visit of Thetford Town on Saturday (3pm)
The Brettsiders return to Thurlow Nunn Premier Division action this weekend by welcoming Mark Scott’s charges to Tinkers Lane before a trip to Felixstowe and Walton United on Tuesday (7.45pm).
And they will go into Saturday’s encounter in winning form having bounced back from a disastrous 6-1 defeat to Aveley in the FA Cup first qualifying round a week previously, to record an impressive 4-1 victory over league rivals Stanway Rovers in the FA Vase second qualifying round.
Crawford was delighted with the response of his side and has now challenged them to carry that form into the upcoming league fixtures.
“After the defeat to Aveley we definitely needed a reaction against one of the strongest teams in our league and thankfully I got one,” he said.
“We showed plenty of desire and showed the right hunger to go on and get the result and that is credit to the players for bouncing back.
“We need to keep the form going against Thetford because it is a game we need to win and one I feel we should.
“We are behind in the league because we didn’t start well and we need to start catching up.
“No disrespect to Thetford, but it is a game we would be expected to win at home if we are going to go on and have a successful season.
“It’s the same with the game on Tuesday. Felixstowe beat us 1-0 in the first week of the season, but we will going there expecting three points.”
After enduring a poor start to the campaign, in which they suffered consecutive defeats to Norwich United and Tuesday’s opponents, Hadleigh have recovered to record back-to-back league victories, beating Ely City and Stanway, 2-1 and 1-0 respectively.
They currently sit 13th in league, nine points behind leaders Dereham Town, having played a game less.
However, Crawford refused to be overly concerned to be off the pace at this stage of the season as he remains confident the best of his team is yet to be seen.
“It is still early days and I believe it always takes a couple of weeks into the season to really get going,” he added.
“A lot of people think pre-season is the time to get ready but it is not always easy and we shouldn’t be judged on our early form.
“It takes time to get settled and work out a system but I think we are now in that position and I am sure results will start to pick up.”