Gillingham manager Justin Edinburgh says his side are "massively overachieving" this season.
The Gills have topped League One five times since the start of the campaign, but are currently fourth, six points behind leaders Burton Albion.
"If you look back to pre-season, the chairman's target for us was to remain in the league," Edinburgh told BBC Radio Kent.
"From the day we kicked off until now, we have not been outside the top four."
Former Tottenham defender Edinburgh led the Gills to a 12th-placed finish in the third tier last season after taking charge at Priestfield Stadium in February.
The 46-year-old admitted their ambitions for this season have now shifted, with the aim now to sustain a promotion push.
"Expectations have changed and rightly so," he said.
"Once we are in there we want to stay in there. We understand that and it is my job to manage that.
"That is not to play it down or get over excited, it is to make sure we keep level-headed and try and continue what we are doing."
Edinburgh rebuffed criticism from some supporters that Gillingham's style of play has been exposed by their promotion rivals in recent weeks.
The Gills have lost to Walsall, Coventry and Burton, with the Brewers inflicting their first home league defeat of the season.
"There is always going to be an opportunity after any game for people to be an expert," Edinburgh said.
"I watch Match of the Day on TV and every game I could sit from afar and make better decisions.
"I only do what I feel is best for the team and the club. More times than not since I have been here, I have done that very well.
"The level of performance has been so good that when we do get beaten, which is not every often, it hurts people.
"Sometimes we have to have a reality check and know where we are."