Andre Boucaud believes Dagenham & Redbridge will find it tougher against National League strugglers Guiseley this weekend than they would if they were hosting one of their title rivals.
Daggers head into the clash with the Lions at Victoria Road second in the table, while the west Yorkshire outfit only moved out of the drop zone with a win on Tuesday.
Trinidad & Tobago international Boucaud believes the club’s positions will count for little on Saturday, though, and knows the Essex club will have to be at their best to rack up a sixth straight win.
“It won’t be an easy game, it will be tougher than facing a Tranmere Rovers or a Lincoln City,” said the 32-year-old.
“The public would think we’d roll Guiseley over given the run we’re on and where we are in the league, but football’s not like that.
“The game won’t be won in one particular position, but as long as everyone does their jobs, we’ll be all right.”
After struggling for game time last season, Boucaud has enjoyed something of a renaissance this term, often dictating the tempo for Daggers.
Some suggest the turnaround in fortunes for the former Notts County man may be down to having a full pre-season with Daggers, while in 2015 he played for the Soca Warriors in the Gold Cup.
But Boucaud insists competing in the North American continental competition was not the reason why his form stuttered during Daggers’ doomed League Two campaign.
“It’s always good to get a proper pre-season, but I can’t say last year didn’t go well because I didn’t get a full pre-season,” added Boucaud, who played his 100th game for Daggers in a 4-1 win at Southport last weekend.
“I spent the summer in 2015 playing competitive games against world-class teams, so you can’t blame it on that.
“It is good to get a full pre-season, I remember last season when I came back the league games started almost straight away which made it difficult. That’s football, I had an opportunity to represent my country and I know most footballers would do that.”
Like Boucaud, Daggers have enjoyed a change in fortunes this season as they push hard for an immediate return to the Football League.
The smiles on the faces of players, fans and staff at Victoria Road appear to have returned after a season of struggles last term.
And Boucaud believes the upturn in results is partially down to the mental toughness of the squad, pointing to their come-from-behind win against the Sandgrounders at Haig Avenue last weekend.
“Last year was very difficult, as soon as you conceded you felt so low. Now, even at Southport we went a goal down, but it didn’t bother me,” said Boucaud, who also recently signed a contract extension through to 2019.
“I have that belief in the boys and the team, but we have to keep concentrated.”