Upbeat Spalding Town skipper Rob Ambrose has issued a rallying call for his side to stay positive ahead of their biggest match of the season so far on Saturday.
Town travel to face relegation rivals Market Deeping at the weekend, having slipped to the foot of the Lincs Premier Division table.
Ambrose’s charges suffered a 70-run defeat against fellow strugglers Boston at the weekend, but are still only five points adrift of safety.
Victory at Outgang Road on Saturday will boost Town’s bid to beat the drop with a winable trip to Grimsby Town to follow next weekend.
Ambrose said: “Every week is becoming more crucial and Saturday is really important to us. It’s a big game.
“The division is like two leagues this season. The top five teams are clear of the rest so it’s vital we pick up points against the sides around us.
“We said before the Boston game that if we can pick up two wins from the three games then that will set us up nicely.
“If we lose all three games then we’re really in trouble so we have to stick at it, keep going and make sure we stay positive.”
A magnificent performance from Boston’s Jonny Cheer contributed to Town’s downfall in Saturday’s clash.
With Boston reeling at 47-3, Cheer joined forces with Fayadh Haffejee to forge a match-winning performance.
They put on a stand of 208 for the fourth wicket with Cheer smashing 20 fours and six sixes in an unbeaten 160 not out.
However, the outcome of the match could have been so different had Town not dropped Haffejee – who went on to make 76 – when he was in single figures.
Ambrose commented: “I don’t want to take anything away from Jonny Cheer’s batting performance because he took us to the cleaners.
“He saw off Jonny (Miles) and Roy (Tilley) and then really went to town on the rest of the bowlers.
“We won’t see many better batting performances on a Saturday.
“But, from our point of view, we chucked it away to a certain extent.
“We dropped Haffejee early on in his innings. It was a crucial stage of the game because they were already three down.
“If we had held it, it would have put more pressure on Jonny who was only on 16 at the time. It might have turned into a different game.
“If we could have kept them to 230, we would have had a good chance of knocking them off because we batted well.
“But we can’t keep saying we’re nearly there because we’re short of wins and that’s what has put us at the bottom of the table.”
Town will be boosted by the return of prolific batsmen Josh Newton for the Deeping duel, but last season’s star man Hafiz Majeed remains on the sidelines due to administrative issues over his visa.
Majeed scored 730 runs from 12 innings’ last season as Town won promotion after lifting the South Lincs and Border League Premier Division crown.
He also collected 35 wickets during the campaign and Ambrose admitted that his all-round qualities are being sorely missed by Town.
He added: “It will be good to have Josh back this weekend because he is a big part of the side so we’re not far away from being full strength.
“But it’s a big blow for us not having Hafiz and a massive loss because he is just the sort of player we are missing.
“We have been told not to play him and we are doing what they say.
“We really need someone who will bowl 14 overs every week for us and then bat in the top four, but we have to go with the decision.”