Ronnie McFall hopes Portadown have emerged from their slumber as they look to get their title ambitions back on track.
The Ports picked up just one point from a possible nine prior to last week’s welcome return to form against Dungannon Swifts.
McFall’s side laboured to a 2-2 draw with Warrenpoint Town before suffering back-to-back defeats to Glenavon and Ards.
It saw the Shamrock Park side slump from first to fourth in the table, and fall five points off leaders Linfield.
But after dispatching Dungannon 5-0 at Stangmore Park last week, McFall is confident Portadown can continue building momentum.
“I can’t put my finger on why we put in three poor performances – I wish I had an answer,” he said.
“We just didn’t perform to the level we know we can, and if you drop off then you will be punished in this league.
“Every game is a battle, and if you are not up for it then you shouldn’t expect to get any reward.
“It is a competitive league where everyone can beat each other, so we are under no illusions.
“We just hope last week’s win over Dungannon can be a catalyst for us. Stangmore is traditionally a tough place for us to go to, but we came away with a very good win.”
Next up for Portadown is a testing showdown with fellow title hopefuls Crusaders at Shamrock Park on Saturday.
The Crues booked their place in the final of the County Antrim Shield in midweek as they continued their stellar unbeaten run.
Stephen Baxter’s side have not lost since the second week of the season when Ballymena United claimed maximum points at Seaview.
Since then it has been an imperious streak for the Shore Road men.
“Crusaders are a good side – that goes without saying,” McFall added.
“They have quality players who can play football, and they can also mix it up. So they are a strong outfit.
“Stephen (Baxter) has assembled a very good squad, and I have no doubts they are genuine title contenders this season.”