Jimmy Bell believes if Accrington Stanley can get into the play-offs, they will stay there – and that’s now the main focus.

The Reds are 15th in League Two but are only five points off seventh placed Southend and the assistant boss knows it’s now a vital time for his side to assert their promotion credentials.

This is especially as Stanley have two home league games on the bounce with Cambridge today and Exeter on Friday.

“When John (Coleman) and I first came back to the club we went on a bit of a run and we have got to strive to do that again,” said Bell.

“The last full season we were here three years ago we were 17th at this time of year, with a couple of games in hand, and then we won four or five on the bounce and got into the play-offs.

“Once you get into the play-offs, you have got to strive to stay there and generally you do.

“We are only five points off Southend and we have a couple of games at home now and we have got to strive to get into the top seven.

“I think we can get there and, once we do, I believe we will stay there.”

Bell said the players want to take their high following their FA Cup first round replay victory over Notts County on Tuesday  into their league performances.

“The players are chomping at the bit to play again and there is a buzz around the place. It was a much-needed win in terms of finances especially as we have a home draw in the next round.

“But first we have to concentrate on the league and it is really tight – it has been for the last few years. I think that’s the thing we have noticed more since John and I have been away from League Two, that it is has really tightened up and the top can beat the bottom and it’s not a shock.

“What we need to do it get up or around the play-offs, get the town buzzing again and hopefully get more fans through the gates.”