Consistency is the next big target for Nottingham Forest as they look to build on last week’s victory over Burton Albion.
And in Hull City, who they face on Saturday, they will come up against a side searching for exactly the same thing.
The Reds made it two wins from their last six Championship games when they beat Nigel Clough’s Brewers 2-0, claiming only their third clean sheet of the campaign. It leaves them 12th in the table, four points off the play-off places, ahead of their visit to the KCOM Stadium.
Hull are two points and two places below them, having also struggled to string a run of results together.
“The team that puts three or four wins together very quickly finds themselves in the top six,” said Forest boss Mark Warburton.
“Someone said to me, ‘you’re three or four points off the play-offs’. Well, two weeks ago, you were saying we were six points off bottom. That’s the nature of the league.
“You have to be focused on consistency and maintaining a quality of performance week in, week out. If you can do that then you’re heading in the right direction.”
Asked if he feels his team are capable of that, Warburton added: “Absolutely – I think we’ve shown in the quality of our performances, but we haven’t always had our rewards.
“Was I pleased with the performance on Saturday against Burton? No, not really. The first half, definitely not. It was a much improved second half, but as a group of players and staff, we know there’s loads more to come. We’ve shown that already.
“You have to focus on the result, focus on your performance, prepare well every week. It’s a repetitive, relentless grind.”
Hull find themselves in a similar position as they readjust to the Championship following relegation from the top-flight last season.
They are currently unbeaten in three – a run which includes a 6-1 thumping of Birmingham City and their first away win of the campaign, against Barnsley.
“I’m sure they’ll be bemoaning their inconsistency as well,” said Warburton. “They will be looking at their squad of very talented individual players and seeking that consistency. That’s what they’ll be after as well.
“You’re very strong some weeks, weaker the next.
“We’ll always prepare for facing the best Hull can offer. We’ll prepare for a very strong challenge.
“They’re at home, they’ve got very good individual talents and they can score goals – they’ve shown that.
“We have to be prepared. We have to defend our goal with a passion and believe in what we do – get on the football, play well and be positive in our decision making.
“They were a Premier League team last year. It’s a Premier League stadium. They have many talented individuals, so we have to prepare for what we know will be a tough encounter.”
Warburton says it is no surprise that teams who come down from the Premier League do not always manage to hit the ground running straightaway.
“It’s a really tough division,” he said. “I’m sure there’s no lack of preparation on their (Hull’s) part, but teams come down and get overestimated and other teams get underestimated.
“Look at Sheffield United and Millwall who have come up, they are brave and fearless in what they do.
“I think sometimes if you get relegated then you have a whole club that’s downcast. It’s a huge blow to any club to be relegated out of the Premier League.
“To leave the promised land of the Premier League and come down to the Championship, it does take time to adjust. Straightaway the season hits you.
“There are no easy games in the Championship and if you’re not at it completely then you get exposed and pay the price.
“They are big clubs, Premier League clubs, with very talented squads and they’ll find their feet sooner rather than later, I’m sure.”