EVER-present defender Tom Aldred has not ruled Accrington Stanley out of making an incredible late push for the play-offs after his first senior goal helped them to a stunning derby success over Morecambe.
Tuesday’s 5-1 win hauled the Reds up to 15th and six points clear of the bottom two.
It also left them just 10 points off the play-off places in the tight League Two table.
And Aldred believes a top-seven finish is not yet beyond James Beattie’s buoyant side providing they build on their mauling of Morecambe.
“With the remaining games you’re either in a relegation battle or pushing for promotion,” said Aldred, who has started all 41 of Stanley’s competitive matches this season.
“With the way the whole league is and how tight it is you can say we are in a relegation battle.
“But if we carry on from Tuesday in the next two or three games we could be in a promotion battle.
“It’s literally that close – and we need to kick on from Tuesday.”
Key to the Reds pulling clear of the bottom two and keeping pace with the promotion hopefuls will be their home form.
Stanley are now unbeaten in four matches in front of their own supporters after failing to win any of their previous five.
With seventh-placed Plymouth Argyle next up at the Store First Stadium on Saturday, Aldred added: “We’re starting to look a threat now at home and that’s something we needed to pick up on.
“Our remaining home fixtures are all winnable and they’re all must-win.”
Lee Molyneux stole the show on Tuesday by taking his tally to six goals in 11 games since re-signing for the Reds on loan from Crewe.
But it was a special night for Aldred as after 82 matches of trying he finally hit the net when he headed home a Molyneux corner.
“It’s my first Football League goal so I’m buzzing to get it, it’s a bit of a duck that I’ve broken because I’ve done everything apart from score,” said the Scottish centre-back.
“It’s been frustrating but I’m delighted to get it now.”
Tuesday’s game was the 53rd successive start Aldred has made since signing for Stanley in January 2013.
He said: “It’s been an unbelievable run. I’ve got nine games left now and I just keep focusing on the next one and keep putting in performances that I know I can.
“But at the moment I’m just focusing on Plymouth and after that I’ll be focused on the next then the next one after that.”