Tadcaster Albion manager Paul Marshall wants his side to have a vital contribution in the NCEL Premier title race despite only having cup success left to challenge for.
Albion host title-chasers Bridlington on Saturday and still have to play top of the league Scarborough Athletic and second-placed Brighouse Town before the curtain drops on the season.
A late Nick Thompson header secured three points last Saturday as fifth-placedAlbion edged past Maltby Main 1-0 at 2inspire Park.
It provided Marshall’s men with a third league win in a row and means they have lost just once in 11 matches.
However, the run was halted on Tuesday when the home clash against Long Eaton United was postponed owing to heavy fog.
Marshall said he would use the end of the season to give all his players the opportunity to shine.
After Brid’s visit, Taddy are due to journey to Retford United in the league on Tuesday (7.45pm), who sit one place below them in the division.
He said: “I have challenged these young players to test themselves against the top teams.
“If we can come out of that unscathed we will be in a strong position for next year.
The gaffer believes his young, talented squad have built strong foundations for an improvement into next term.
“We have got a great squad of 17 at the moment and we want to look at them in preparation for next season,” he said.
“If we can keep this young group together we are going to have a good team for a go at the title next year.”
Albion’s defence held firm against Moor and Marshall said he was relieved when his skipper, Thompson, struck last in the game.
Marshall said: “It was a good game. It was very hard work and they were a strong physical team.
“But we defended really well.
“We didn’t think we were going to get one, but then young winger Dan Barrett produced some good skill on the wing and crossed it in for captain marvel Nick Thompson to score.
“It was great for a young team like us to beat an older team like that.”
Albion also thrashed struggling Winterton Rangers in the League Cup third round last Wednesday and Marshall said his quest for cup glory was in full swing.
Goals from Thompson and Callum Ward helped Albion into a 2-0 lead before Winterton’s Tom Finnigan pulled one back seven minutes before half time.
But two late goals from Ward and Steven Jeff settled the contest and helped Albion into the last eight.
“The pitch was one of the best we have played on and it suited us,” he said.
“We go up and we try to press high up the field.
“ We play better on better pitches.
“If we can go the next 10 games unbeaten and win the league cup it will be a good end to the season.”
However, next up for Marshall’s side is the arrival of third-placed Bridlington, who have scored 109 goals in the league this year and beat Lincoln Moorlands Railway 9-2 last week.
Albion battled back from a goal down to beat Brid earlier in the season thanks to a quick-fire double from Jeff and Daniel Gray.
But Marshall is expecting a difficult test against the side five points off the top of the table with two games in hand.
The gaffer understands his defence will come up against a tougher test than that posed by Moor.
But he reckons his side will get their own opportunities.
“We are going to have to defend well again,” he said.
“They have a lot of pace around the pitch. Josh Greening has a lot of pace and Craig Hogg just seems to score goals all the time. But they always give you a chance to score.
“They are not the best defensively.”