Micky Mellon has acknowledged the sheer unpredictability of Sky Bet League Two as Tranmere Rovers prepare for the season run-in.
The Whites have only 12 matches remaining in the regular 2021/22 campaign and are approaching a critical stage.
Plenty is still to play for at both ends of the division, and Tranmere will be hopeful of producing a run of results to build on their current league position.
Describing this period in the season as ‘tense’, Mellon has nonetheless backed the resilience of his players to shine through – starting this Saturday away to Northampton Town.
“Character is always important. You have to show personality. These players don’t play at the level they play at if they don’t have character or the ability to get up again and go,” said the 49-year-old.
“They’re human beings: sometimes you get individuals, or a whole team, who forget what makes them a good player. We’re hoping for the best versions of ourselves at the weekend.
“You can see with how the results go how tense this stage of the season is and why we were so distraught that people didn’t value the last 12 games of the season when we were demoted. With 12 games to go, who is guaranteed anything? That’s why we were so angry at the time at how flippantly people believed that’s the way the season would go.
“We’re coming into a really difficult time now, everyone is really fighting and scrapping in the games and people are desperate for results. You have to find a way of playing football under intense pressure, which is always there.
“It’s a tough time of the season for a whole host of reasons: pitches are changing, the environment is changing and teams are fighting for different prizes.
“We only look at the next game with optimism and to try and win. We don’t carry anything forward; we only look optimistically at the game in hand and believe it is a great opportunity for us to try and get a result.”
Tranmere will be wearing their yellow third kit for this weekend’s meeting with Northampton, accompanied by blue shorts as the Club shows its solidarity to Ukraine.
Commenting on the Whites’ decision to pay their respect by sporting the colours of the Ukrainian flag, Mellon added: “It’s very important. We’re not politicians, that’s the first thing I will say on it. As a human being, you’re distraught at what’s going on at the minute. It is beyond sad.
“It’s nice, as fellow human beings, that we can show our solidarity. I’m not a politician, as I said, but you only have to turn the TV on, listen to the radio or read a newspaper – it’s horrific.
“I hope everyone gets what they need out of it. That’s the important thing. We’re doing it to show people that we care and think that it is wrong.”