Adam Hinshelwood says there is no pressure on Worthing in the battle for a Bostik League Premier Division play-off spot.
Worthing dropped out of the top five on Saturday after they were held to a 1-1 home draw against Brightlingsea Regent.
But a run of seven matches without defeat, which continued after picking up a point with ten men against Brightlingsea, leaves Hinshelwood’s troops well positioned to mount a play-off charge in the final eight games.
Worthing are level on points with fifth-placed Enfield Town and know continued good form could see them creep into the top five come the end of the season.
Yet boss Hinshelwood insists showing signs of improvement is more important in the final run-in.
The team that started against Brightlingsea had an average age of just under 21 and the former Brighton defender wants his squad to enjoy the experience of battling for a top-five finish.
Hinshelwood said: “I don’t think there is any sort of pressure, although as a club we’ve made it clear our ambitions to be in the leagues above, at the same time there doesn’t have to be any sort of rush on that.
“From where we were last season we haven’t gone out and spent what we haven’t got to get into the position we are.
“We’ve gone and recruited well, brought young players in and for us to finish in the top ten would be a stepping stone and place to build on from where we were.
“We’ve got eight games to go and we’re just going to keep trying to improve on ramping up the standard of performances.”
Worthing will look to move back into the play-off places when they host Sussex rivals Whitehawk on Saturday.
But Jude McDonald’s side have been resurgent in recent weeks, climbing out of the relegation places, and have won four of their previous six matches.
Hinshelwood has warned his side not to underestimate 19th-placed Hawks.
“They’re on a better run of form than us at the moment and looking at their highlights from Enfield Town, they will be disappointed they didn’t get anything from that game,” Hinshelwood said.
“It’s going to be a real tricky test, they’ve got a lot of experience in their side now and it’s going to be another big Sussex derby.
“Our focus is on Whitehawk and knowing that will be a real hard fixture to come through.”
Alex Parsons, who picked up an ankle injury during training on Tuesday, starts the first of his four-game suspension following his sending-off against Brightlingsea. Meanwhile, Hinshelwood revealed former Brighton talent Danny Barker is ‘progressing nicely’ from a hamstring injury and is likely to be back within three weeks.
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