Joint manager Graham Fenton says South Shields’ fighting qualities are “streets ahead” of where they were five months ago as they prepare for a trip to Workington on Saturday.
The Mariners are four points behind leaders Farsley Celtic in the Evo-Stik Premier Division following Tuesday’s win over Marine.
They head to second-bottom Workington hoping to crank up the pressure on top two Farsley and Warrington Town as they bid to make it eight away wins from nine games in all competitions.
That is in stark contrast to their away form earlier this season, when they lost six of their first eight matches on the road.
Joint manager Fenton is in no doubt that Shields are now in a better place.
However, he still expects a tough afternoon against a Workington side fighting to remain in the division.
He said: “It will be a real battle.
“I’m sure that the pitch and weather conditions will be testing, and we’ll have to dig out another performance like we have been recently.
“Where we are in terms of digging in and scrapping out results is streets ahead of where we were five months ago.
“We’re in a good place and playing some good stuff at times, but that determination, spirit and fighting quality we’ve got at the moment is seeing us through some games as well.”
Shields’ fate is out of their own hands heading into the final eight games of the campaign, but Fenton has called on his team to maintain the pressure on the top two.
He added: “We have to keep the pressure on, and we keep talking about that.
“We’re hoping that the top two slip up, but we have to keep the pressure on from our end.
“It’s great that we got maximum points on Tuesday.
“Had we dropped points then it might have been a little bit easier for them, but we kept the pressure on.”
Shields go into Saturday’s game at Borough Park – which has a post code of CA14 2DT – without injured trio Barrie Smith, Carl Finnigan and Barrie Smith.
The match is in some doubt, with Workington having called for volunteers to help fork the pitch from 8am on Saturday morning.
The club will keep supporters updated regarding any pitch inspections and the result of them.