Nottingham Forest face a “big week” with two away games in the space of just four days.
And with the Reds up against teams close to them, there is the chance to create a bit of breathing space amid a crowded Championship table.
They make the trip to face third from bottom Rotherham United this evening, before taking on arch-rivals Derby County at Pride Park on Friday.
Forest are up to 17th after beating Blackburn Rovers 1-0 on Saturday, with a seven-point cushion between them and the relegation zone.
But boss Chris Hughton says they cannot afford to relax.
“This is a big week,” he said. “It’s about making sure we put in the type of performances which can get you the results you need.
“When we were going into the Coventry and Wycombe games, you know the type of game plan you have to have and the type of effort it takes to win those games.
“Anything short of that against Rotherham and we’ll find it hard to get a result.
“They’re a good side and they’re at home, so we’ll have to be ready for that.
“We are in a better place than we were a few months ago, that’s clear.
“Before Saturday, we had played two teams in the top six, in Bournemouth and Swansea, and put in two very good performances – particularly against Swansea.
“But this league is so demanding and so unpredictable, the moment you feel you’re in a good place and you don’t put in what you’ve been putting in, you can fall flat on your face because there are too many good sides in this division.
“We have to make sure all of the things we’ve done to enable us to be on this good run, we have to continue to do.”
Finishing as high up the table as possible is the aim for the Reds, but Hughton says no particular target has been set.
“We don’t look at that,” he said. “We would like to finish as high as we can, but that means getting results and being better than what we have been at times.
“We are on a decent run of picking up results at the moment. But the only way you can guarantee finishing in a better position is if that continues.
“We would like to finish the season in the best position we can. That means continuing a run and winning as many games as we can.
“Because we have so many midweek games, we all know the difference one week can make, whether you get good results or bad results.”
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From where they were just a few months ago, when relegation looked a real threat, Forest have certainly made strides.
Having a changing room packed with players well versed in the challenges of this division has been key.
“Most of this squad know this division, so most of it is not a surprise to them,” Hughton explained.
“They know when they go to a Wycombe, there isn’t one player who thinks that because Wycombe are bottom of the league it’s going to be an easier game than any others.
“We’ve got a changing room which knows how difficult this division is.
“You want quality in the changing room and good individuals, but having that experience definitely helps.
“I’d like to think it also helped when we were going through a difficult period of not picking up results.
“They are very aware of the rigours of this division, even though as seasons go, this is different to most seasons and is far more unpredictable.
“Rotherham are a good side. We saw that at the City Ground.
“We are seeing teams in and around us putting in good performances. All of those clubs would probably be able to stake a claim that their performances haven’t warranted being where they are. Rotherham would be one of those clubs.
“They are capable of putting on some really good performances, which makes them a very dangerous opposition.”
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