Peterborough Lions director of rugby Simon Moyle is adamant his side are good enough to be a National League team.
The Bretton-based club may be languishing at the foot of the National League Two North table at the moment but Moyle is convinced the good times are just around the corner.
Moyle watched his side lose again on Saturday - for the eighth time in nine outings in their debut season at Level Four - but the manner of defeat left him mightily encouraged.
They were away at fourth-placed Sedgley Park up in Greater Manchester and were only just pipped 31-29.
They picked up a losing bonus point and a try-scoring bonus point and Sedgley Park were relieved to hear the final whistle.
“If there’d been another five minutes we would have won, I’m convinced of that,” said Moyle.
“We trailed 31-15 with 14 minutes to go but this week we refused to lie down. We stuck at it and got two converted tries and were definitely in with a shout of nicking it.
“Everyone did well. It was a much better team effort and we showed that when we put our minds to it we can compete at this level.
“We drew lots of positives from the game and hopefully the fixtures we’ve got coming up will provide us with some wins. They certainly will if we perform like we did on Saturday. We not only matched a strong side like Sedgley Park for long spells, we dominated them for a while as well.
“We were unlucky with a couple olf refereeing decisions and those sort of things go against you when you’re struggling. If we get the rub of the green, results might start to go our way.”
Club chairman Andy Moore echoed Moyle’s thoughts.
He added: “It was a bit of a hard luck story really. Sedgley Park were an established Championship club nine years ago while we were playing at Level 10 yet we’ve gone out and matched them today. That’s how far we’ve come.
“They couldn’t believe we were bottom of the table.
“The last time we picked up two bonus points away at South Leicester we went and won our next home game against Chester. Hopefully we can do the same against Otley on Saturday (2.15pm kick-off).”
Otley are another big club though. They were National League One champions three times - in 1993, 2000 and 2008, they have won the Yorkshire Challenge Cup nine times, they produced England scrum-halves Danny Care and Nigel Melville, and their ground was the venue for North of England games against the All Blacks (1979) and Australia (1988) and also for the 1991 Rugby World Cup group game between the United States and Italy.
They arrive sitting in eighth place following a 32-17 win at home to Tynedale last Saturday.
New winger German Herrera Luhrs, a Chilean international, made his debut for the Lions on Saturday. He played five times for his country between 2010 and 2016 and arrived from Leinster League Division One club Dundalk.
He took a knock against Sedgley Park but should be fit to play against Otley. Skipper Conor Gracey will definitely be out though with an elbow injury.
Tom Lewis, Shaquille Meyers, Christian Edbrooke and Alex Ioannou scored the Lions tries at Sedgley Park.
There were good wins for Borough and Oundle in Midlands Division One on Saturday.
Borough beat Towcestrians 20-6 with Mooki Tshepo-Olebile and Ryan Morris scoring tries and Matt Newman kicking 10 points while Oundle toppled league leaders Kettering 7-3 with Lewis Robinson scoring a try converted by Will Carrington.
This weekend Oundle visit struggling Leighton Buzzard while Borough are away at Wellingborough.