Wrexham return to Vanarama National League action on Saturday with the away trip to Maidstone United, with the Dragons not only defending top spot but one of the best defensive records in the league too.
Unbeaten in ten games, during which time only three goals have been conceded, only Fylde have now conceded less than Wrexham in the league.
And captain Shaun Pearson says it is the pressure from the chasing pack – with only two points separating the Dragons, Leyton Orient and Salford City – that is keeping standards high on the pitch.
“We’re pleased with the defensive record but obviously we just want to continue winning games.
“Last year, if you were up the top, you could get away with a draw here or there but this year if you draw one game then the other teams are punishing you.
“We just have to keep winning and hopefully we can somehow open a gap up now we’re the top team and put distance between ourselves and the chasing pack.
“That’s the standard. I think the top end of the league is much stronger this year than what it was last year – with all due respect to the teams last year.
“We’re a better side than we were last year and what we have to do is keep winning games.”
Having gone top of the league with a 3-1 win at home to Gateshead at the start of the month, this is Wrexham’s first league game since – after the FA Cup win at Weston-super-Mare last weekend.
It will mean another match on an artificial 3G surface, after defeat to Sutton and two draws with Harrogate on 3G pitches so far this season.
But Pearson is not expecting the pitch to be a major factor against the Stones, who sit 18th in the National League but have lost just one of their last five matches in all competitions.
“The pitch is different but I suppose every pitch is different. Sunday’s pitch was different – it was very soft and cut up very quickly – so you could say every grass pitch is different too.
“We obviously didn’t have the best of days at Sutton [on 3G] but we went to Harrogate twice and drew twice – they were both good results if I’m totally honest. It depends how you want to look at it – I know we haven’t won a 3G pitch so far this season, but if you go away to one of the top sides in the league and draw then I don’t think you can complain.”
Pearson accepts Maidstone’s recent form highlights the challenge awaiting Wrexham in Kent, however, adding: “You play any game in this league then it’s a tough fixture. There are no gimmies, no easy three points so to speak. Every team in the league knows that.
“We just have to go there, and approach it like we have every game and hopefully we can continue winning games as we have done lately.
“The squad is really strong this year and that’s no disrespect to the lads last year – we’ve definitely improved as a squad, we’ve brought new players in and they have added competition and pushed everyone on to a new level I believe. Hopefully we can push on again because I still feel like we have more in us.
“We were definitely a work in progress last season. I think we would have improved under the old managerial team too – this is not a slant at them – but I just think we’re a better group this year, with more competition for places, and a bigger squad so you can keep players fresher.
“Hopefully that will only bode well for us going into the second half of the season.”