THERE are no freebies in this league.
That's the view of Bradford Park Avenue boss Lee Sinnott, who takes his side to fifth-bottom Cammell Laird in the UniBond League Premier Division tomorrow.
Sinnott is looking for a victory to consolidate Avenue's position in the play-off zone, secured following a 2-1 victory over Leigh Genesis last weekend – their third league win on the bounce.
But that sequence was ended when Avenue were held 1-1 on Monday night by a Boston United side who occupy the fourth and final relegation zone. And Sinnott knows tomorrow's hosts, who are just two points clear of Boston, will prove just as difficult to break down.
Sinnott, who led Farsley Celtic to promotion from the division in 2006, said: "I would say the quality of the UniBond Premier is higher than I remember it to be three or four years ago. You don't get any freebies, without a shadow of a doubt.
"Boston was a close contest. Just because they are low down you are not going to walk over them, it doesn't work like that. People at the bottom are scrapping for their lives.
"Cammell Laird are another team who are low down, but I have observed their results over the last couple of months and they can throw up results that will surprise a few people. Cammell Laird are the same as anyone else in this division – we will treat them with respect but we certainly won't fear them."
Avenue have produced title-winning form since first number two John Deacey joined the club in December, to be followed by Sinnott a month later. They have won eight of their 13 Premier Division games since, drawing three and losing just two. But Sinnott isn't getting carried away.
"It's important we don't shoot ourselves in the foot mentally, thinking we are going to win every game," he said. "You want to, of course you do, but realistically you are not going to and 10 points out of the last 12 is a decent return.
"And if you look at the points total since John went in and multiply it over a season, it would yield 86 points. You have to be pleased with that.
"It is crunch time now, and our first priority is to secure a play-off position. We are in there at the moment and we have to make sure we stay in there."
Avenue are expected to be without centre-back Mark Haran (hamstring) tomorrow, but new signing from Farsley Amjad Iqbal could make his debut in his place.