CLIFTONVILLE boss Tommy Breslin believes momentum is the key to success in this season's Danske Bank Premiership.
Cliftonville, Crusaders and Linfield have all put together impressive runs of form, while Portadown and Glentoran are on hot on their heels.
The Reds, who haven't lost a league match since October, face Ballinamallard United at Solitude today, in the knowledge that another win will keep the pressure on the Blues and the Crues.
Breslin said: "If you want to compete for the major honours then you've got to have some momentum at this time of year. Unbeaten runs breed confidence and you need to have confidence to compete with the best teams in the league.
"You can see how our confidence has grown as the season has gone on, and with a bit more care we could have had even more points on the board."
Cliftonville extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to nine games on Tuesday night, when they beat Ards 2-0 in the semi-final of the League Cup.
Breslin believes next month's cup final against Crusaders will force his players to maintain their current level of performance.
"The cup final is at the end of January, so it will keep everyone on their toes between now and then, because everyone wants to start those sorts of occasions.
"It will help us keep the momentum going, as we're four points behind Linfield and two points behind Crusaders. That means we've got to win two more games than Linfield, which is a big ask."
On Tuesday night, star striker Joe Gormley was credited with his 25th goal of the season, but TV highlights have shown that Ards defender Andrew Hunter may have got the final touch.
Gormley's manager Breslin isn't surprised as he couldn't believe that 'Joe the Goal', had actually scored a header.
"Joe has been asking if he is going to be credited with the goal, but I knew there must have been some mistake, because there is no way Joe could have scored a header!" Breslin joked.
"To be honest, I don't really care who scored the goal.
"The important thing is we're into the final and we've a chance of retaining the trophy we won last year.
"Joe's been on great form in recent weeks, but then so has everyone else."