Western Sydney Wanderers striker Mark Bridge said several of his team-mates' desire to prove a point is a key factor in his side's surge into the top four.
The fledgling franchise has risen to fourth after successive away wins at Wellington and Brisbane and is eight points clear of fifth-placed Melbourne Heart, which it hosts in week 18 on Saturday.
"We have a very good side, a very good squad," Bridge said. "There's a lot of talented players in there that I think you could say had a lot of things to prove.
"There's a lot of players that have represented their country and some guy called Shinji Ono that came into the team as well.
"We've been working hard and I think for the moment we deserve what we're getting."
Wanderers coach Tony Popovic said he can understand fans getting excited about his side's finals chances.
"Our fans can certainly start believing that we have a good chance of getting in the top six," he said.
"With the format this year, it shows that if you are in the six that anyone has a chance of winning the league, so we can possibly start dreaming about making the six, but there's still a long way to go."
With six goals from 14 starts, Bridge is enjoying a productive season after two fallow seasons for Sydney FC, scoring three in 2011-12 and one in 2010-11.
"I worked very hard in the pre-season and I'm still working hard and still being very disciplined, so I guess that is the thing that has changed and it's obviously paying off," he said.
"I still had a year left at Sydney and left there to come here.
"Me, along with a few other players, all had something to prove."
The Wanderers have enjoyed tremendous home support, despite four of their six losses coming at Parramatta Stadium.
"We've only lost two games away, we wanted to change our home performances to make it so it's a fortress and we're slowly doing that too," Bridge said.
"We still have to play all the teams above us at their home grounds so there's no easy games this season."
Wellington Phoenix foundation midfielder Vince Lia will stretch his tenure at the club to at least nine seasons after signing a two-year contract extension with the A-League outfit.