Deeping Rangers host Loughborough University in crunch United Counties League Premier Division clash
Deeping Rangers assistant boss Jack Marsden believes his side's table-topping tussle with Loughborough University on Saturday will give them a true reflection of their progress since the start of the season.
The Clarets have overcome an inconsistent start to move into second spot in the United Counties League Premier Division on the back of a strong run of form.
A 3-0 derby victory over Pinchbeck United on Tuesday night was the Clarets' fifth league win from their last six games.
It moved them above Saturday's visitors to the Haydon Whitham Stadium on goal difference, but the student side do have two games in hand.
They have lost just once in 10 matches since their summer switch to the United Counties League which has featured several eye-catching performances.
And Saturday's showdown promises to be a tantalising tussle between two of the best footballing sides in the division.
Marsden said: "We're looking forward to it, but we're still taking each game as it comes.
"We haven't really got into the run that we wanted to, but hopefully in the last couple of weeks both the performances, the work ethic and results are starting to roll in the direction which we want them to go into.
"On our day, we're more than capable of having a good game against anyone.
"We'll always play our way and will always try and play with our quick, fast tempo and high work-rate and we'll see where that takes us.
"We're not worried about what they have. For all their credentials in how they want to play and the ilk of football which they have, there isn't one player in our dressing room which hasn't played at a level they have.
"Myself and the boys are more than confident and we're excited to play the game.
"It will be true test of how far we have come from the start of the season.
"When you play against a team that are playing well and are a strong team who should be up there then that will be a true reflection of where we are."
Full-back Dan Banister is doubtful for Saturday's clash after being substituted on Tuesday night with a hamstring injury while top scorer Jordan Macleod - who remains dual registered - has joined higher level AFC Rushden & Diamonds.
But Marsden feels Deeping have enough strength in depth which has been boosted by the return of Jason Kilbride from a long-term injury.
Marsden added: "We've strength in depth in the squad. Jason Kilbride looks really sharp so he's adding more strength to the squad and selection.
"Luis Vieira is getting more and more minutes as he hasn't played for a year while Ryan Olbromski has been really positive in the appearances he's made.
"Matt Carter came on against Pinchbeck and he never lets you down whatsoever. You can play him in three or four different positions knowing that he can do a job.
"The squad we've got now is really positive, not only in attitude but obviously in ability and versatility as well."