Wimbledon Neil Hallett is not ruling out a late promotion charge out of London Division South.
The fly-half and stand-in skipper is preparing for the visit of fellow promotion hopefuls Brighton this weekend, and it is these top of the table games he cites as most important to the Dons.
Wimbledon went into a two-week break last weekend on the back of one defeat in nine games, and a 27-20 win at previous leaders Gravesend.
The rich vein of form leaves them fifth in the table, 16 points behind leaders Chichester – and Hallett is predicting an exciting final eight games.
“After each game you’re always hoping that the teams above you have lost, but what is most important is how we perform against those teams,” he said.
“We have Brighton this weekend, but we still have to play Sidcup and Chichester at home – sure Chichester are 15 points clear, but they lost at home to Cobham two weeks’ ago.
“This league has been up and down, it is so unpredictable because every team has struggled when they have not been able to field a full strength side.
“Even the games against Staines and Haywards Heath at the bottom are physical games and you have to be on your game to win, otherwise you can get turned over.”
Wimbledon went down 18-8 at Brighton when the sides met in October, and Hallett, who bagged a penalty in the defeat, was impressed with the south coast outfit.
He said: “Brighton pretty much showed us how to play rugby that day. They did everything well, they did the basics right and they had a bit of flair out-wide.
“We’re expecting a very physical game from them. It will be a very good challenge.”
He added: “Hopefully the weather will dry up, and we can get some quick ball and play the way we like to play.”
“What has been most impressive about us over the past couple of months is that we have that forward power and physicality to our game – it is not just a case of going wide and having that one game plan.
“Brighton are a good team who have surprised a lot of sides this season, and we have to take them on the merit they deserve.”