Dundee United No 2 Lee McCulloch feels a change in atmosphere at the club has them prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.
United have failed to win promotion from the second tier in each of the last three seasons.
However, currently sitting top of the Championship table, Lee feels they are more equipped mentally this time to deal with the tests set to come their way between now and the end of the campaign.
And the former Rangers man has put that down to the changes made in the playing and coaching staff since boss Robbie Neilson has come in.
Lee said: “We had a meeting at the end of last season when we were all still hurting from the St Mirren game and we decided that recruitment-wise we were going to be looking at mentality.
“We wanted to see what people were like away from the pitch too. I think it has worked so far.
“We still have boys bedding in to the squad and I still feel we can get better as time goes on.
“Over the winter months is a tough period for any team so that will give us a mental and physical challenge.
“We are prepared for that, though. The atmosphere at the club on the training ground and in the dressing-room is really good so we just want the games to keep coming.”
And former Scotland star Lee believes the players need to rise to the challenges and expectations they face every day working at the Tangerines.
Asked what the biggest challenge for the players is, he added: “I would say it is coming in every day to an environment where you are expected to get better every day.
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“As a team and individuals – coaching staff as well as players – we are all trying to get the best out of ourselves that we can.
“That comes from a working environment where you don’t have any big egos.
“It is about hard work every day and knowing that we should reap the rewards at the end of the season if we stick to it.”
Lee also takes heart from the talented crop of youngsters coming through at Tannadice.
“We are lucky we have so many good young boys coming through and we certainly have a fantastic U/18 team.
“The lads in the reserves are really ready to kick on.”