John Coleman still has his eyes on the top two spots – but knows Northampton and Plymouth have stolen a march.

The Cobblers are sitting at the top of the table with 58 points and have won 10 out of the last 11 league games.

Plymouth are in second spot on 56 points, having a five point gap on third placed Oxford.

Stanley are in seventh spot on 42 points, with four games in hand on some of the sides above them, and Coleman knows his side have to hit top form if they are to play catch-up and secure automatic promotion.

“You have got to take your hats off to Northampton and Plymouth, and to an extent Oxford, as they have maintained their progress and got the points on the board and that is something we have to emulate,” said Coleman.

“We play Bristol Rovers this weekend, who are fourth, and it’s a game where if we win, we improve our position in the table. Good teams don’t pass up opportunities like this.

“Saturday’s defeat at Exeter, like at Northampton and Plymouth, was another game where the opposition manager was full of praise for us and admitted they were fortunate to win the game.

“We are not doing a great deal wrong and hopefully we will start picking up the points we deserve.

“We want to play attractive football, I want to be entertained and the fans want to be entertained, but it is all about winning.

“If Liverpool win the league cup final no one will be bothered about how they played in the run up. If we get to where we want to be it won’t matter how we have done it, it will be all about us being there and achieving something.”