Nottingham Forest midfielder Gary Gardner has told the club's website that their lengthy unbeaten run earlier in the season proves that they are a side able to compete at the very top in the Championship.
Dougie Freedman's team went 13 matches without defeat between late November and early February but have suffered back-to-back defeats in their last two fixtures.
The East Midlands club have found the net just once in their last four outings, but on-loan Aston Villa midfielder Gardner is not concerned about the recent blip.
The 23-year-old Forest fan favourite, who is back at the club after enjoying a loan spell last season, during which he scored four goals in 18 appearances, maintains that they have already proven themselves to be a highly competitive side.
Gardner told the club's website: "That’s what all the lads are speaking about. You don’t go 13 games unbeaten if you’re not a good side.
"There’s a good group of lads here and if we stay strong and get some goals we’ll be fine. It happens in football – you go on a good run then have a little blip.
"The 13-undefeated, the 1-0 away wins at Middlesbrough and Leeds and the convincing win against Bolton are fresh in our minds. Hopefully we can take that into the next few games.”
Forest are 12 points off a place in the Championship play-off positions but will be hoping to recover their form from a few weeks ago and push for a top-half finish in the remaining months of the season.
Gardner's side host relegation strugglers Bristol City at the City Ground on Saturday as they look to bounce back from disappointing defeats against Huddersfield Town and Burnley.