Matt Easton admits that Spalding United simply can’t afford to lose Saturday’s home game against Loughborough Dynamo on Saturday (3pm).
The 18th-placed Tulips are teetering just three points above the drop zone in Evo-Stik NPL East Division after last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Pickering Town.
Relegation rivals Carlton Town have a game in hand on the Tulips and have a winnable home date with Stocksbridge Park Steels this weekend, so the wrong set of results on Saturday could leave their fate out of their hands with just three games left to play.
Easton, who returned to full managerial duties last weekend after his illness, is “quietly confident” that Spalding will deliver the goods on Saturday despite suffering last-gasp heartbreak at Pickering last time out.
He said: “We’re not losing too much sleep over the Pickering game. To be honest, they deserved a draw from the match.
“Just getting the draw was vital, as every point counts at this stage of the season.
“Both Carlton and indeed Gresley have winnable games this Saturday, so you have to think one of them might pick up points.
“With that in mind, it’s really important that we don’t lose against Loughborough.
“Obviously a win is what we’re looking for, but just taking another point would put pressure on the teams below with so few games left to play.
“Loughborough are a good side and they have two very dangerous strikers.
“We’ll need to get a handle on them. If we let them run riot, we could find ourselves getting picked off.
“We’ll be going all out to get a result and I’m quietly confident that we have enough about us to get the job done.
“Their pitch is like a carpet, so coming to our place will be a bit of a culture shock to them. We need to impose our style on them from the off.”
Spalding will, however, have to do without the services of key winger Jenk Acar. He’s been ruled out for up to three months following a shoulder injury at Pickering – meaning he’ll miss the rest of the season.
Easton, who only just had his key man back following a length knee injury, accepts that losing Acar is a massive blow to Spalding’s survival bid.
He added: “There’s not getting a way from it, losing Jenk is a massive blow.
“His shoulder popped out and it’s a bad one, so he’s looking at two or three months out.
“He’s our biggest attacking threat and we’ll have to change the way we want to play without him.
“If you look at the last six months, we’ve barely had Jenk available.
“That’s been massive for us, as we’re a much more dangerous side with him involved.
“That being said, all of the lads have been absolutely brilliant in very difficult circumstances.
“They’re doing their best for the club and their loyalty is commendable.”
New signing Anton Daniels, who travelled with the squad to Pickering, is pushing for a place in the side this weekend.
Dynamo, who won 5-1 against Lincoln United last time out, are tenth in the table and are pushing for a top seven finish. In strikers Ryan Robbins (19 goals) and Karl Demidh (17 goals) they have the most prolific strikeforce in the division.