Anthony Barry says Stanley should never be thought of as ‘little Accy’ and that the current squad need to have the belief of the Conference-winning side of 2006.
Midfielder Barry, 28, is in his second spell with the Reds and he was an ever-present in that Conference-winning season until his move to Yeovil in January.
Despite clubs having bigger resources, more modern grounds and better training facilities, Stanley still won the Conference comfortably and Barry believes that the play-offs are a realistic option for the current crop of Reds, if not this season then definitely next season.
And he says results like victories over Saturday’s opponents Portsmouth as well as title-chasing Southend and Burton in recent times should help the current young squad have more belief in themselves.
“Portsmouth will bring maybe a few thousand on Saturday and I guess it shows what clubs like Accrington are up against in this league,” said Barry, who is on loan from Forest Green Rovers until the end of the season.
“They get around 16,000 every home game which shows the resources we face but I agree with the gaffer and I think I have been brought in as I have the same mentality.
“We shouldn’t be thought of as ‘little Accy’, we should and we can compete with these teams, perhaps not financially but certainly on the park, and I think we know we have a good group of lads here who can push on, if not this season, then next season.
“When we won the Conference, we weren’t the favourites, other clubs had better resources than us but it was achievable and we did it. It’s a mindset and it’s about believing it – our mindset shouldn’t be happy with surviving relegation year after year.
“This league is a much of a muchness. As has been shown, the bottom can beat the top and there isn’t a lot between the teams.
“With a few less mistakes we can win games as we showed when we picked up 10 points out of four hard games recently.
“We are a really young team but we have a lot of quality. Now it is just a case of getting that consistency and the players having the belief in themselves that they are not just here to make up the numbers – we can challenge for a play-off spot, if not this season then certainly next season.”