Manager Steve Evans wants Stevenage to continue gatecrashing the upper regions of League One after their 1-0 victory over Lincoln lifted them up to fourth in the table.
It is 12 years since the Boro reached the play-offs in what was their first season in the third tier and few would have had them down to threaten a repeat after winning promotion back in May.
They continue to defy expectations, however, as Jamie Reid’s 14th goal of the campaign earned a third league win in a row and handed Michael Skubala a losing start as Lincoln head coach.
Evans said: “We are that little bad apple in the barrel that no-one wants to be in that top group.
“There is only the town of Stevenage and everyone in it – myself, the board, the players, everyone that’s connected with the football club – that wants us in that top group because we’re fighting for something that people thought two years ago would be in the National League.
“We just have to keep working hard, keep principled, keep humble and then take it forward to a real tough game to face Lee Johnson at Fleetwood.
“This is a really good Lincoln side, I think everyone in football was surprised they decided to change manager, but Michael has come in and his team gave us a few problems in the first half.”
It was in the second half that Stevenage took control, with Lincoln goalkeeper Lukas Jensen saving bravely from Reid before Kane Hemmings struck the inside of the post.
The breakthrough came in the 68th minute when a scramble in the six-yard box following Jake Forster-Caskey’s corner led to Reid bundling in.
It could have been more comfortable for the hosts, with Forster-Caskey striking a free-kick just over and Jensen making a good save to deny Reid a second, but there was no doubt they were deserved winners.
Skubala admitted the Imps were ultimately outmuscled, saying: “We need to get stronger, there’s no doubt about that, and it takes time to get physically stronger.
“It’s not something where you can just flick a button, so we’ve got a lot of work to do with the lads off the pitch to get physical.
“They’re strong, it’s just sometimes where you’ve got to do the scrappy stuff away from home against Stevenage that we probably got outfought in those battles.
“I think you saw the work we’ve done [during the week] in the first half and I was quite pleased.
“We won a lot of second balls, which we knew we were going to have to do here, and we had a couple of moments where we probably should have done better in the final third.”