Pat Rayment today celebrated his third anniversary in charge at Spalding United and set his sights on more progress.
The Tulips boss has turned the club from “a laughing stock” into contenders for a second successive promotion.
An unbeaten three-month run of 13 games in the Evo-Stik League First Division South has put Spalding into fourth place – their highest-ever position.
Rayment said: “Three years ago when I took over you couldn’t get people to play for Spalding.
“Basically the club was just a laughing stock. Those are not my words – that’s what people told me.
“What has happened since then means players are now ringing me because they want to come here.
“That’s all down to hard work by several individuals and it has been really pleasing to see the unbelievable rewards.
“You get out what you put in, although I’d still like to play more entertaining football on a decent pitch in front of crowds with an extra 50 to 100 fans.
“The club has always given me backing and going forward we need to make progress with our structure on and off the pitch.
“At the moment we are way ahead of what people would have anticipated.
“We are looking to compete at Step Three if we can go up again.
“We are halfway through this season and we are a top-five team.
“We’ve seen all the other teams and our record speaks for itself.”
Spalding’s 10th successive home win came courtesy of first-half goals from Jordan Hempenstall and Mitch Griffiths against Sheffield on Saturday.
Rayment added: “We missed chances and I thought 2-0 flattered them.
“If they had got one goal back then they could have really put us under a lot of pressure.
“They are the biggest team we have played this season and we had to deal with their direct approach where everything goes to the big lad up front.
“But we had chances to kill off the game and completely knock the stuffing out of them. We deserved to win.”