Games do not get any bigger for Frickley Athletic than Saturday’s home clash with Marine – a match they simply cannot afford to lose.
The Blues have saved their necks in countless relegation battles over the years, but this season’s survival quest in the Premier Division requires an act of escapalogy even to test their Houdini-like skills.
Fate decrees that they must host the side just above them in the table, the Mariners, in South Elmsall tomorrow and for that manager Karl Rose is grateful.
A cruel late midweek loss at Witton, following another heartbreaking collapse in the final throes at Grantham, leaves Rose’s fourth-from-bottom side five points adrift of safety behind old rivals Marine.
A home victory would pile on the pressure, regardless of them having a game in hand, while defeat would signal the relegation last rites, with three games left, according to boss Rose.
On his side’s date of destiny, Rose, who saw Fernando Moke dismissed at Witton, said: “We have got to win.
“If we don’t, we are all but dead and buried.
“If we win, it turns the screw a little bit on Marine and can build some momentum from that. We’ve got to keep believing.
“We are certainly not giving up the ghost until it’s mathematically impossible. The one saving grace is we have to play Marine.”
Rose insists that for the most part, Frickley have been a match for most in the division in 2013-14, only for a lack of a ruthless edge at both ends of the pitch to prove their undoing – something the Blues boss will address whether his side stays up or not.
Rose, mindful of how his side have tossed away a number of points this term from winning positions, said: “Our decisions in both boxes are killing us.
“We were well in games, but keep missing chances and conceding silly goals. Individual mistakes are costing us. Regardless of everything, we must play for personal pride. I know I have got to look at changing things for next season.
“We have underperformed in key areas in both boxes – centre-halves and forwards.
“And we have got to improve as a club on and off the pitch with our mentality and professionalism.”
It’s also a big day for Ossett Albion, whose relegation from the First Division North could be confirmed if they lose at home to Radcliffe and Wakefield lose to Prescot Cables. At the top, Farsley, now out of the play-off pack, face a huge home game with fourth-placed Ramsbottom.
Harrogate Railway visit Kendal, and Ossett Town host Lancaster – where victory can do Farsley a big favour.
In the First Division South, Goole visit Mickleover and Scarborough host Leek.
All Evo-Stik games kick off at 3.07pm as a mark of respect for the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.