SEAMUS Conneely believes Accrington Stanley have proved they are capable of sustaining their challenge at the top end of League One.

The Reds were disappointed that an eight-game unbeaten run in all competitions came to an end at struggling Wigan Athletic over a week ago.

But captain Conneely feels taking four points from their next two games has reinforced their belief - and reminded others - that they are a force to be reckoned with this season.

"After the Wigan game if someone had said four points from Gillingham away and Blackpool at home you'd probably take that," said the skipper.

"It was a great response against Gillingham. It was important that we got back to winning ways as soon as possible. We were blessed to have a game within four days of losing to Wigan, get back on the horse, to show other teams that it's just a blip, we're not going away, we're looking to stay around as long as we can.

"To respond like we did against Gillingham was very good, and then (against Blackpool) we had a gameplan, we tried to take the ball off them high up the pitch, press them high, at times we did that in the first half."

A deflated dressing room reaction to a goalless draw at home to the Seasiders, who like Stanley are among the division's form teams, is a measure of the club's ambitions this season, according to Conneely.

"I think it's a good sign," he said. "We're questioning whether we could have got all three but we'll take a point and move on.

"I think it keeps momentum going. To lose would have been a kick in the teeth, would have knocked the stuffing out of us a little bit. But it keeps that undefeated run we're on at home, which is very good. Our form has been very good since the Oxford game, I don't think we've been beaten since, so it's good to continue that.

"We would have liked all three but a point it is, we'll take a point."

And Conneely says the manner in which they have bounced back after Wigan sets them up nicely for some tough festive fixtures, starting with a Boxing Day trip to fourth-placed Doncaster.

"It's a good marker for us, another test against a top team in the league and I think we stood toe to toe with them," he said of Blackpool.

"I think the next four or five games are against teams that are going to be up there or thereabouts so that's going to be more testing games for us."