Paul Dickov hopes his Doncaster Rovers side can use consecutive home games to maintain the breathing space between themselves and the bottom three before regrouping in January.
Doncaster welcome in-form Ipswich Town today and fellow strugglers Millwall on Sunday to close out what has been a hugely successful 2013 for the Keepmoat club.
Yet with a raft of players due to return in January, plus word from the boardroom that he is going to be backed in the transfer market, Dickov is keen to stabilise his side’s position before kicking on in the new year.
Extending Richie Wellens’s contract beyond next month is a high priority, as is persuading Manchester United to allow striker Federico Macheda to remain on loan.
As well as that, Dickov expects to see first-team regulars Rob Jones, James Husband and Paul Keegan return to full fitness during January to further bolster his options.
Dickov said: “Three defeats on the bounce is not good enough for where we want to go, but at the same time, getting through this period without any more injuries and keeping out of the bottom three is a massive objective for us going into January.
“One of my peers always says to me that you look at the league table every Saturday night and you would take that position every day because you’re doing okay, and the position we’re in at the minute, we’d probably take.”
Rovers have shipped nine goals in losing three successive games, with only one to their name during that period.
Defensive reinforcements and a regular goalscorer will therefore be high on Dickov’s wish list, but in January he knows he will not be the only manager looking for such assets.
“We’ve got a list of players we’ve given to the board and we’ll wait and see,” said Dickov.
“In January, a lot of clubs in the position we’re in will be after the same players.
“There’s no set number of players, we want to strengthen all over. We want to bring in quality, but experience is also important because we’ve lacked that with the absence of Jones, Keegan, Chris Brown, people like that.
“Getting Championship experience is hard because a lot of clubs want to keep their experienced players.”
Of the club’s current form, Dickov said: “If we were not playing well, not creating chances and conceding too many chances, then I’d start to worry.
“But we are playing well, it’s just the defining moments in each game. We’ve got to keep believing we’ll turn those around.”
Last six games: Doncaster LWDLLL; Ipswich LWWWDD.
Last time: Doncaster 2 Ipswich 3; April 28, 2012; Championship.
Referee: T Harrington (Cleveland).