A BULLISH Michael Nottingham says Stanley were never out of the League One play-off race as they ended a three-game winless run with victory over Wigan Athletic.

Only four points separate Doncaster Rovers in fifth and Stanley in 12th in what is set to be a fascinating promotion race in League One.

Nottingham scored in Stanley’s comeback win against Wigan which ended a run of three successive defeats for John Coleman’s side.

They have a rare midweek off, ahead of Saturday’s trip to Peterborough, and Nottingham says despite the injuries that have decimate the group in recent weeks, confidence has remained high.

“We were never out of it, there were so many points to play for," he said.

“We have to keep going, we have to try and get as many points as we can on the board.

“Everyone is taking points off each other because it’s such a tight league so we knew we were still in it.

“Everyone in there believes we can get in there. There’s only a few points between eight teams, so it’s whoever who goes on a little run, gets those points on the board.

“I definitely believe that we can do it.”

The 31-year-old opened his Stanley account with a goal in December’s defeat at Wigan, but said this mattered more as it came in a win.

Stanley were behind after just 35 seconds, but level through Cameron Burgess’ goal in the third minute. Nottingham then put them ahead in the 15th minute, before Dion Charles headed off on international duty with Northern Ireland with another goal to his name from the penalty spot to wrap up the result.

“I’m happy to get the three points because they were much needed,” Nottingham added.

“We’ve been on a bad run but we didn’t feel our performances merited how bad the run was.

“It was really important that we got the three points.

“It’s been tough, challenging, playing Tuesday-Saturday constantly and playing a repetitive team, the same players and losing players, big players, it’s been damaging.

“It’s been tough with the run of bad results but we’re pleased to get this job done and over the line.”

After a 15th win of the season, Stanley now have a seven-day break between matches for the first time since January.

They return to action on Saturday against second-placed Peterborough United at the ABAX Stadium, with Nottingham insisting the players will regroup and be refreshed ready to go again at the weekend.

He told the club website: “It feels like we’ve been playing for 50 years, it will be nice to have a little rest and a full week to go into the next game at Peterborough, do what we need to do and look to kick on.”