North Melbourne coach Brad Scott is adamant his side are on the right track despite some poor form in recent weeks.
The Kangaroos, widely tipped for big things after a strong win over Geelong in Round 3, have failed to impress since then, winning just three of their next eight games.
Of their five wins this season, the Geelong triumph is the only one to come against a side not in the bottom four, with Scott's men scraping past Gold Coast in an unimpressive seven-point win on Saturday.
But Scott remains positive about the progress the club are making.
"We as a club are really excited about the path we are on," Scott told reporters at Arden Street on Thursday.
"We are really confident. People have extrapolated that to mean that we expect to make finals.
"There's no doubt there are some things that we'd like to be better at right at the moment but it is an evolving process. We are unwavering in the fact that we believe we are on the right path.
"The game against Geelong proved that at our best we are a very capable side. What we have got to do is smooth out the difference between our best and worst.
"We have just got to stick on the path that we set two-and-a-half years ago and we are on that path. People's opinions outside that are just that, they're opinions."
North Melbourne's next task comes on Sunday against an in-form Adelaide side at Etihad Stadium.
And while Scott lauded the likes of Patrick Dangerfield and Scott Thompson for their impressive seasons, he believes his side have the right mix to give the Crows a real test.
"They are the number one side in the competition for contested possession (and) number one side for clearances," he said.
"With the types of players we have got, we aspire to be really good in those areas too. Say for one or two games this year, we have been on top in the clearances and on top in the contested ball situation.
"We think we can really take it up to them in that area and if we beat them in that area, then we'll give ourselves a chance. That's where it begins for us."
While Scott said talk of the finals 'hasn't really entered my thinking', he is aware that the club's next month will shape their season.
St Kilda, West Coast and Carlton await the Kangaroos after they face Adelaide and the coach is relishing the challenge.
"We've got a pretty tough month ahead. We play a lot of sides that are above us on the ladder," he said.
"That's a great position to be in. Playing sides above us gives us a chance to take points away from them as well and push up into the higher reaches of the ladder.
"We play good sides so if we win them, we'll hopefully prove ourselves to be one."Scott also admitted the club were considering whether to recall one of either Cameron or Luke Delaney to deal with Adelaide's tall forward line.