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Strong January has given platform to beat drop
11:32am Thursday 30th January 2014 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
WORCESTER City have laid the foundations to secure their status in Skrill North - now they need to build on it.
Following four victories from six matches, January has been by far and away City's best month of the campaign to date.
Few who were at Bradford Park Avenue four days into the new year would have believed the Blue and Whites capable of finishing the month with 12 points from the next 15 on offer.
Yet, after quite a remarkable turnaround, that is exactly what they have done.
But it is only half the job. While now being six points above the relegation zone and looking at reeling in some of the mid-table teams, City will still be glancing nervously over their shoulders.
They may have the points on the board but they can still be caught by the likes of Oxford City and Histon below them.
All this makes February even more important in the grand context of avoiding the drop come the end of April.
For during the next month, Worcester play the three teams immediately above them in the table - Stockport County on Saturday (3pm), Barrow on Saturday 15 and Gainsborough Trinity seven days later.
If you take a brief glance at March's fixtures too, their first two matches are against Stalybridge Celtic, currently four-from-bottom, and Barrow again.
It is all adding up to quite a few weeks for Carl Heeley's side.
While the value of taking points off teams also in the relegation mix is obvious, it is no less significant.
Beating the top sides is all well and good, and City deserve immense credit for what they achieved in the past few weeks, but stopping their immediate rivals from progressing will really help them make strides.
Crucially, Worcester can approach this batch of fixtures full of confidence. They are one of the division's form sides and will believe they can continue their excellent run.
Supporters, too, will have been buoyed by what they have seen in recent matches and have little reason not to turn up.
Gates may not be as high as they were at St George's Lane, for reasons well known, but being at Aggborough is certainly more of an enjoyable experience than it was before Christmas.
Tuesday's 3-1 victory over Solihull Moors was a case in point. Steven Leslie's early strike gave the hosts a platform on which to build and the fans something to cling to.
From that moment, they were willing their side on, even if it took another 51 minutes for Ethan Moore to bag his 11th goal of the season.
Ebby Nelson-Addy's injury-time third eased the tension created by Ryan Beswick's strike for the visitors but the ovation at the end showed all is currently well in the stands.
More success over the next few weeks will only improve that.
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