That is the view of boss Mark Fell who admits this season has been full of challenges and difficulties.
While being 13 points off the play-offs with only 10 games remaining was certainly not part of the masterplan at the start of the season, the fact that they are in a mid-table spot is a plus point.City can’t afford to be complacent, but Fell is confident his team won’t be dragged into scrap at the bottom.
And considering the financial constraints a club like City faces when compared to other clubs, preserving their status in the division is always an achievement.
“We have consistently been a top half team in this league since I have been at the club,” said Fell.
“So we have set our expectations based on that, based on our history.
“We have earned that right to be thought of as one of the strongest sides in the division.
“It is quite clear why we have a level of inconsistency because we are trying to get the very best of what we have got all the time which is not always ideal.
“People are human and we know at our best, we can beat anyone and we have shown that this season.
“But are we going to be at our absolute best every week? No, we are not.
“That is the gulf in strength and quality of our squad in comparison to teams like South Shields, Matlock Town and Buxton who have all got five-figure wages bills each week.” We don’t have that level of consistency of other teams because we haven’t got those top end players.
“We can’t afford those top end players. Once again, I don’t want to sound like a broken record and keep talking about budgets or money because you can still achieve a lot.
“Look at two seasons ago. We were in the play-offs the season before the Covid-19 called a halt to everything.”
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