Hemel Town are gearing up for a crucial winter schedule which could play a big role in deciding their promotion push this season.
Riding an eight-game undefeated streak in the league, the Tudors are well-placed for an attack on the National League South standings and sit in a healthy sixth place in the standings.
Hemel are just three points adrift of leaders Dartford and have a game in hand over five of the other sides in the top-eight positions.
An emphatic 5-0 win –their biggest margin of victory so far this term – at cellar-dwellers Whitehawk on Saturday saw the Tudors move back into the playoff places.
Standing in their way is now a tantalising five-match Christmas/New Year schedule which includes encounters against three sides in the top eight, including back-to-back clashes with derby rivals St Albans.
Heartening for Tudors’ fans is the fact that three of these crunch games will be in the friendly confines of Vauxhall Road, starting with this Saturday’s big fixture against fifth-ranked Chelmsford City.
It really is a great opportunity for the town to get behind its team and cheer on the lads as they enter this potential make-or-break period.
This weekend’s opponents are just a point ahead of the Tudors and are undefeated in four straight league games.
They boast one of the top scorers in the division with marksman Chris Dickson’s eight goals being the sixth best in the league.
The following weekend, December 23, sees – on paper – a slightly easier tussle at Vauxhall Road against 16th-placed Concord Rangers.
However, the very same Rangers are one of only five sides so far this term to have inflicted a league defeat on Hemel, back in early August at the Aspect Arena.
Concord, who have ex-Tudor Ben Greenhalgh among their number, have also won three games on the bounce.
After that, it’s a side that needs no introduction – local rivals St Albans.
Hemel will make the short journey to Clarence Park on Boxing Day before the two sides renew hostilities just six days’ later on New Year’s Day at Vauxhall Road.
It’s evenly-poised between the two neighbours, with the Saints just two places and two points behind the Tudors.
The exciting festive fixture list then concludes with a trip to third-placed Hampton & Richmond on Saturday, January 6.
Tudors’ boss Dean Brennan has spoken earlier this season about how his side have a great chance of maintaining their promotion position if they keep being brave and make themselves available to receive the ball.
That will be put to the test under the most severe pressure in the coming weeks.