NICKY Hunt says a battling goalless draw with rivals Bury could be the most significant turning point in Accrington Stanley’s season.
The Reds have had a number of key moments in their campaign - including ending a 12-game winless start was ended with a 2-1 win over Bristol Rovers.
A late winner against the Gas in the return fixture was equally important in their quest to move away from the drop zone.
But by playing for an hour with 10 men against fellow strugglers Bury in midweek, and coming away with a clean sheet and a point, Hunt insists that has boosted their belief that Stanley can stay out of trouble and climb up the table.
“I think there have been two or three turning points during our season,” he said.
“But the way we handled the pressure we were under after going down to 10 men, we didn’t start great, which seems to be a significant thing at home for us – we don’t really start great – but we ended up finishing the game, fitness wise, very strong. Everyone dug in.
“That’s our third clean sheet in four games. That tells its own story, not just for the back four and the keeper but for everybody else that’s working to keep a clean sheet.
“It was a bit of an onslaught in the second half, but we knew that when we went down to 10 men. It was always going to be difficult.
“But as a whole team I thought we defended magnificently well.
“It gives everyone a massive lift – not just the players but the staff, the fans and the chairman.
“The way we went about it – we were committed, which we haven’t been as much at home. I think we’ve given the home fans a lot of encouragement now.”
And Hunt believes the squad can prepare for two tough away games, against Torquay on Saturday and Portsmouth on Tuesday, with renewed confidence.
After five wins and three draws from their 14 away fixtures – abd seven points from their last three games on the road – Stanley will be hopeful of maintaining their impressive away form against a Torquay side who sit second bottom of League Two, with the worst home record in the division.
“It seems like we’re playing without fear away from home. That’s not to say we play with fear at home, but we want to kick on now and go on another unbeaten run, which is what we have done in the past few weeks,” said the former Bolton right back.
“If we go to Torquay and get three points I think that’s us looking above us instead of always looking below us.
“That’s what we want to be doing at the end of the day.
“We know our away form is decent. We are hard to beat and we score away from home, that’s the significant thing for us.
“Torquay will be low on confidence after their recent results, and we’ll be flying high, especially after Tuesday night.
“Torquay will be a massive game for us. It will be a massive game for them too because it’s a chance for them to get three points and get up the table.
“But as far as we’re concerned we’re going there with a gameplan, get three points, and then it’s on to Portsmouth on Tuesday.”
To avoid excess travelling with two long trips in the space of four days, Stanley will stay on the south coast after the Torquay game and prepare for the rearranged game at Fratton Park.