One of the only surviving trio of Town’s last successful promotion campaign, David Ball, believes this squad has the right ingredients to make history – but stressed that sacrifices need to be made until the campaign is up.
Town’s 3-1 win over Oxford moved them six points clear of seventh-placed Millwall and sees them third in the League One table, seven points off second-placed Bolton Wanderers with five games to go.
Ball, Conor McLaughlin and skipper Nathan Pond were all part of the Town side that won promotion from League Two via the play-offs in 2014.
Three years on, Ball says this team is closer than the one that Graham Alexander guided into the third tier.
Ball said: “If anything this is probably a closer-knit group than we had the first time getting promoted.
“We have got all of the right ingredients in there, it is just about keeping our standards and making sure we are doing that everyone else is not doing and making sacrifices until the end of the season.”
And as one of only a handful of players aged over 25 Ball says the more experienced players are helping the younger members who might not have been in this situation.
But he also stressed that it is a good blend of youth and experience which will bode them well in the final run-in.
He said: “I think it is just keeping the mentality right, keeping everyone going, certainly keeping the young lads’ heads up, maybe when we have not been getting the results that we have needed to and making sure that they know they are good young players and they have got a good future about themselves.
“These type of things don’t come along that often. Bobby (Grant) has been fantastic, he’s got an assist and a goal (at Oxford) and we have got a good mix of youth of experience that will bode well”
Ball says the clash at struggling Oldham is another important game as they bid to overtake their 74-point target.
He said: “It is an important game again and we go to get that points tally that we are set to (74).
“Teams are looking at us now as a very good team and we are which we are so teams are upping their game against us and we have got to go again and up our game.”