NATHAN Baxter feels Accrington Stanley face their toughest tests over the festive season, but he is confident the squad is equipped to cope.

On-loan Chelsea goalkeeper Baxter made his league debut for the Reds as they bounced back from Saturday's disappointing defeat at Wigan to beat Gillingham 2-0.

The result at the Priestfield Stadium fired Stanley into the League One play-off places. But with the game kicking off at the earlier time of 5.30pm, by the time the team bus had returned to East Lancashire, wins for Doncaster and Ipswich had nudged the Reds back down to eighth.

Baxter believes they have a squad capable of challenging.

But games against Blackpool, Doncaster and Sunderland before the end of the year, followed by new year contests with Portsmouth and Charlton, will be a test of their mettle.

"We have played (and beaten) MK Dons, Crewe, Swindon, Northampton - these are all teams I played in League Two. Apart from Ipswich, who beat us, we haven't really come up against those tough teams," Baxter said.

"It will be an interesting period for us, and a lot of games, but we believe that we can beat anyone and we have the ability in our dressing room to beat anyone.

"As long as we apply ourselves like we normally do we will give it a good go."

And Baxter feels they have already shown their strength of character by recovering from Saturday's loss to struggling Wigan - their only defeat in 10 league games.

"It's a brilliant run that we're on and it's really good that we've shown that Saturday was a blip.

"It was a really good game (against Gillingham) and it's up to us to keep going.

"There's a real belief in our camp, I said from the start, that we can achieve something really special.

"Obviously we keep our feet on the ground but the lads we've got and the ability we've got, and the size of the squad - speaking to a lot of the lads they've never felt they've had as big a squad in terms of strength in depth that we've got now - so if we keep it going then you never know."

On a personal note, Baxter is hoping he has done enough on his league debut for Stanley to keep the goalkeeper's jersey ahead for Saturday's visit of Blackpool, and beyond.

"It's obviously been a frustrating time for me but I'm happy to make my Accy debut," said the 22-year-old, who impressed with a clean sheet having been previously kept out by the form of Toby Savin.

"It's up to me. If I keep playing well I'm going to keep playing."