James Beattie says achieving League Two safety would constitute a successful season for Accrington, but believes Stanley can finish higher in the table.
Stanley are 22nd, six points above the relegation zone, with 12 games to play.
"With the financial constraints that the club faces, survival is the main key," Beattie told BBC Late Kick Off.
"But as I've said to the players, they're a talented bunch. The more hard work they put in, the more results they'll get."
Saturday's 3-1 home win against leaders Chesterfield strengthened their survival chances, and ahead of Tuesday's visit of Hartlepool, Stanley are just three points below Cheltenham in 12th.
The 36-year-old, whose side failed to win any of their first 12 league games, continued: "If we'd have had any sort of start whatsoever, we would have been there or thereabouts near the play-offs.
"Tremendous credit to the boys - it's their hard work and perseverance, and them believing in what I'm saying."