Darin Killpartrick says Chichester City’s trip to Ashford United will be a good gauge of their progress in BetVictor South East.
United are top of the table on goal difference from Hastings United, who have played a game less, but are many people’s favourites to take the automatic promotion spot.
City, who had their Tuesday night game against Herne Bay postponed, are seventh with games in hand on all the sides above them.
It is a comfortable position after claiming promotion last season and, despite a growing backlog of fixtures, City could still force their way into the play-offs.
But Killpartrick, who flew back from coaching the England Colleges team in Italy last Saturday morning, knows Ashford will be up there come the end of the season.
Coach Killpartrick said: “Without a doubt they and Hastings are the two teams battling for who goes up in the automatic spot.
“They are both exceptionally good teams so we shall just look at it as a benchmark of where we have progressed to.
“That is how I shall look at it and I will be able to measure where we are up to now.”
Killpartrick was happy with the 2-1 triumph over Hythe Town last Saturday at Oaklands Park but still saw room for improvement.
Second-half goals from Kaleem Haitham and Scott Jones secured Chi’s third league win in a row although substitute Alex Brown pulled one back with two minutes to go to give home fans an anxious final few minutes.
Killpartrick said: “We played some good stuff, which was nice, and we keep saying that the process will take care of the outcome and Saturday actually proved that point.
“However, as a team we still need to learn to defend as one in vital moments of the game.
“We are a very young and inexperienced team at this level and we’re just starting to get game understanding. It is going to take time but it is starting to come.
“There are still parts of the pitch where I need to tighten up on with my coaching.”
Haitham produced a cool 47th-minute finish for the opener while Jones headed home a 78th-minute second.
Josh Clack is serving a three-match suspension.
Chi have tried to solve a problem area of their Oaklands Park pitch this week by drilling 40 150mm core holes and filling them with shingle to aid drainage.