Notts County assistant manager Richard Thomas believes this weekend's visitors Cambridge United are in a false position in Sky Bet League Two.
United come into this weekend's match 13th in the table on the back of three straight defeats.
But Thomas says Notts must be wary of a side who he feels could emerge as promotion contenders.
"I've been to watch Cambridge a couple of times this season and they're a really good side," he said. "I think their league position belies what they offer.
"They might have underachieved, but with Cambridge I think it's to do with availability of key players through suspension or injury. It looks like they haven't been able to put out their top individuals consistently, which is why they might have stumbled to this point.
"But we're only halfway and they're absolutely a team that can put a good run together post-Christmas and be right up there.
"There are no doubts about what they can do but, after their recent results, they might come here and look to protect and keep the game tight.
"They might also come right out of the blocks and get at us. You've got to prepare for every eventuality."
Thomas is relishing his role on the training ground as he looks to help manager Kevin Nolan keep the Magpies in the top three.
And the assistant has been bowled over by the players' approach through the week.
"Their work-rate away from the pitch on a Saturday is phenomenal," he said. "Their desire to improve individually and collectively has been quite surprising - but it's great for me as one of the coaches working with them.
"They're ready to work, listen and try anything - and you can see they've got the ability."