Adam Jackson says Hartlepool United have “nothing to fear” when they host champions-elect Northampton Town at Victoria Park.
The Cobblers have a foot in League One already - even with a third of the season still to go.
Chris Wilder’s table toppers lead by 12 points and their cushion to the club in fourth is a whopping 18.
Northampton have won 10 in a row in League Two and are clear favourites to take that tally to 11 against Pools on Saturday.
But Jackson says Pools refuse to concede defeat to the divisions top scorers.
“We have nothing to fear,” he said. “We have to go out and play our game and hopefully we can get the result.
“Northampton are doing well,but there are no such thing as easy games in this leaguew, whoever you are playing.
“But if we keep playing the way we are playing then we’ve always got a chance.
“We are creating opportunities and we’re good enough to win the game.”
Jackson scored his second goal in three matches when he headed in Jake Gray’s corner at Luton Town last weekend.
It should have earned Pools a point, only to concede an 86th-minute Craig Mackail-Smith winner.
But the on-loan Middlesbrough central defender says he has seen enough promise in those matches to suggest the tide can turn.
“The last three games I think we’ve improved a lot in how we’ve played, got forward, moved the ball and created chances,” said the 21-year-old.
“I think it’s a matter of time before we get points on the board.”
Jackson was happy with his second headed goal from corners but pointed out that Pools had attempts on goal too from Gray, Lewis Hawkins, Billy Paynter and Nathan Thomas.
“It’s good that we’re scoring from set-pieces but we’re creating chances in open play as well,” he said.
“Once we start putting those away, we’ll get points put on the board.”
But defence is Jackson’s first priority and he says he is happy with his contribution to the Pools rearguard.
Jackson has settled in smoothly from the more refined Under 21 football at Boro to the more physically demanding aspects of League Two.
“It’s a lot different from the style of Under 21 football but I’m used to it now,” he said.
“The lad I was up against at Luton was a big physical presence and they were playing quite direct to him.
“This is the bread and butter of the game, you have to be able to deal with all that stuff, work out how you combat and get the better of players like that.”
Jackson has formed a good central defensive pairing with Matthew Bates, a combination he says he “loves” being a part of.
“Batesy’s brilliant,” he said. “He talks to me all the way through the game and organises us.
“I love playing alongside him.”