Stanley midfielder Piero Mingoia believes that the Reds squad going into the festive season is unrecognisable compared to the one that started the season thanks to one crucial element – belief.

James Beattie’s side face Exeter City this afternoon looking for a third successive home victory and Mingoia admits the mood in the dressing room is confident.

“I think we believe in ourselves a lot more,” said the 22-year-old. “The gaffer has always believed in us and he’s told us that all along, right through that bad patch, and he’s always telling us that there’s more to come and eventually we’ve produced a run of games that we’re really happy with.

“We didn’t get the result we wanted against Northampton but now we need to get on with our business and get on another run.

“You can’t dwell on the result before, you always have to think about the next game, especially when you know that you have games on Saturdays and Tuesdays like you do in this league. That forces you to just think about the next one, try to play well for those 90 minutes and if you don’t get the result you want then you move on to the next one.”

The club’s unbeaten league run ended at Sixfields a fortnight ago but Mingoia feels the enforced break due to not being in FA Cup action could be a blessing in disguise.

“Having lost the last game we wanted to make up for that as soon as possible,” he explained. Unfortunately we couldn’t do that because we didn’t play last weekend but on the other hand I think a lot of the boys gave a lot in those eight or nine games where sometimes we were grinding out results in literally the last few minutes.

“It might not have been a bad thing to have a week where we’ve been able to get back to prime fitness levels and start again.

“The break almost came at a perfect time – it’s just before Christmas and the rush of fixtures that you get then and we’ve had this time to get ourselves ready and go into that Christmas period whole hearted and hopefully come out of it in a decent position.”

There is a full interview with Piero Mingoia in this afternoon’s match day programme – priced at just £3 from around the ground.