In-form Accrington Stanley travel to bottom club Wigan Athletic on Saturday but boss John Coleman is taking nothing for granted.
The Latics, managed by former Red Leam Richardson, were relegated last season from the Championship after a 12-point deduction and are bottom of the League One table.
Coleman’s men are on a good run of form, unbeaten in seven in League One, but Wigan had a good win over Sunderland last week.
“We have been on a decent run since the FA Cup loss to Tranmere where I think we most or less beat ourselves,” said the Reds boss.
“We have been trying to put the Tranmere game to bed and try to repair the damage that we did.
“This team don’t surprise me though. I know they are a great set of lads, there are no airs and graces.
“We have got lads from top Premier League clubs and they don’t turn their nose up at anything.
“We haven’t got the salubrious surroundings of what their training grounds are but they get on with it, enjoy it and bounce off each other and they work hard.
“That’s something we have always demanded at this club, that they work hard and try and enjoy it. I am a firm believer if you enjoy doing anything in life, you are going to do it better.
“It’s not about barking orders, we try to get them to discover for themselves a better way of playing. I have never barked orders, although some players need that!
“As I have got older, I have learnt if you can see a reason behind doing something you are going to do it more and make it work than if you are getting told it’s going to happen.
“We have got a few intelligent players in there, a few who aren’t so bright, but it’s a great mix of lads.
“The older lads are crucial to that, the likes of Mark Hughes, Sean McConville, Seamus Conneely, they give the lads grounding as well and bounce off their youthful enthusiasm.”
Coleman is prepared for the games coming thick and fast over the Christmas period, with a heavy schedule.
“It is going to be tough but other teams are in the same boat as us. You do get to the stage when you are doing ok that you want to carry on playing.
“But I have been in the game long enough to know that can quickly change. You can get to situations where you don’t know where the next point is coming from and we are not getting carried away.
“We are doing ok but we are still a work in progress, there is still not a quarter of the season gone and players are still getting to know each other and us. Hopefully we will improve and I think we need to improve.”
Coleman understands the situation at Wigan, who are in administration and currently in the midst of an on-off takeover, having been through it himself with the Reds in 2011, with Stanley close to being wound-up over an unpaid tax bill.
“Going back years, nine years ago, you are fearing the club is going to fold. You are having to try and manage the players when you don’t know if they are going to get paid or not and it’s difficult.
“For Leam and Gregor (Rioch) to keep them going the way they have done, it’s all credit to them.
“I have watched a lot of Wigan and, if you see the games, they get beat by the odd goal and they have been quite unfortunate on numerous occasions.
“They have got good players, they have got a blend of youth, they have one of the better academies coming through and players have been thrust into first team roles and some have embraced it.”
Head of the Under 18s is Peter Murphy, well-known for his ‘Murphy time’ - the numerous late goals he scored for the Reds during his six year spell at the Wham Stadium, after coming through the ranks.
“I speak to Peter and play golf with him now and again,” smiled Coleman.
“He is great lad, he did absolutely wonderful for Accrington and epitomises what this club is all about.
“We got every last drop out of his career, unfortunately it was cut short with injury, but he never left anything behind, he gave his all in every training session and replicated that when he went out onto the pitch.”
They also have ex-Red Kal Naismith in their ranks.
“I love Kal, he is a cracking lad, he has a great attitude and was really good around the place.
“I know he took a knock on Saturday so he might be doubtful. He always gave me plenty of smiles.”
Coleman is hopeful Tariq Uwakwe will overcome a knock which forced him off in the 3-2 Papa John’s Trophy win over Manchester United Under 21s on Tuesday.
The full pre-match interview video with John Coleman is available to watch on the club's official YouTube channel, CLICK HERE to find out more!