Mark Fell reckons four more wins should guarantee Lancaster City’s survival in the NPL Premier Division for another season.
The Dolly Blues are still firmly in the mire at the bottom of the table – just five points and three places clear of Mickleover Sports, who occupy the third and final relegation spot.
A seven-match unbeaten run came to an end on Saturday as City were beaten 3-1 at home to Buxton.
Fell admits the performance at the weekend was one of the poorest he has witnessed since he took charge at Giant Axe, but he has backed his men to hit back and do what is required to remain in the division over the final few months of the season.
“Our job is to get ourselves safe as quickly as possible,” Fell said.
“We have got 10 games left and I think we probably need four more wins which will absolutely guarantee it.
“I think if we get 12 points from 10 games that will guarantee it.
“You might get away with three or two with a couple of draws, but to keep it all in our hands, we need to win four out of 10.”
Fell will be hoping one of those wins arrives as soon as this weekend when they travel to Stalybridge Celtic.
The Celts – like Buxton last weekend – are safely in a midtable spot. They have no relegation worries, but neither are they going to threaten the teams vying for a place in the top five.
However, as City found out to their cost against the Bucks, playing teams who for all intents and purpose have nothing much to play for can be the most dangerous to come up against.
“They are one of those sides which have very little to play for,” said Fell.
“They are not going to get dragged into it and they are not going to get into the play-offs.
“So they have very little to play for.
“They are talking about building for next season. They have had lots of player turnover.
“They are down there in the form table – certainly below us in the form table.
“It’s an opportunity for us. We beat them at home earlier in the season so hopefully we can go there and do the same again.
“We have got to show on Saturday how much we need these points.
“We need to make sure from our perspective, we don’t find ourselves being outworked like we were on Saturday.”
Fell admits his team deserved nothing on Saturday, with Mark White’s consolation goal arriving in the last minute.
“We were poor on Saturday,” he said. “There’s no disguising it.
“We were probably on top for the first 20 minutes but when you don’t take your chances, you know that there are teams in this league who will make you pay.
“Ultimately the pitch suited them more than us.
“They were big and strong and they played one way.
“By their own admission that is how they play their football.
“To be honest, there were times when it was men against boys.
“We had a little bit of a makeshift side and had a few square pegs in round holes. But we looked at it and thought that we had enough to get something from the game.
“Brad Carsley had to come off early and Tom Kilifin was unavailable, so we were a bit short on strikers.
“We had to change our shape and that threw our game plan out of the window a little bit.”
Fell revealed City have a few injury worries ahead of this weekend.
“Brad Carsley and Tom Kilifin are 50/50. Steve Williams won’t play, Ben Hudson won’t play nor will Sam Bailey,” he said.
“Rob Wilson trained this week so he could come into the reckoning.
“We are looking for a centre half but it’s finding the right one.”