Southend United manager Phil Brown says his side's next three games in League One could define their season.
The Shrimpers are seventh following the 1-0 win over Port Vale on Saturday, and host Barnsley this weekend, before trips to Chesterfield and Gillingham.
"We are a quarter of the way through the season, so this run of games will certainly test the squad," Brown told BBC Essex.
"By next weekend we'll be somewhere near where we're going to end up."
The Essex club, who beat Wycombe in the League Two play-off final last season. to win promotion, have won four of their last five league games.
Former Hull manager Brown, in charge at Roots Hall since 2013, says his side are capable of challenging for a top six place this campaign.
"If [after Gillingham] we are are in the play-offs, then great. If we're higher then great," he added.
"And if we're in the middle of the table then we'll have something to work towards, but we're certainly looking up as opposed to fearing what's coming behind."