Holwell Sports will be eager to beat fellow strugglers West Bridgford this weekend after picking up only their second league win of the season on Saturday.
Having convincingly dispatched bottom side Radcliffe 3-0, the fixture list has presented second-bottom Holwell with a chance to make it back-to-back wins at Bridgford who are just one place and three points better off.
Manager John Webster and his assistant Ryan Peacock were under no illusions of how big a six-pointer the Radcliffe showdown had become after a winless run spanning two-and-a-half months and 13 matches.
“Saturday was massive,” Peacock said. “The whole squad to the manager, and myself to the chairman, everyone knew exactly what it meant.
“We had to win to stand any chance of getting out of the bottom three.
“If we had lost we could have been nine points adrift if other results had gone against us as well.
“But now we are confident of getting three points on Saturday, and if we can do that it brings us right back into the pack and only a few more wins from mid-table.”
Holwell have struggled to put out a settled side this season, weakened by injuries and unavailability, not to mention the departures of long-time players such as Kieran Foster and Chris Hibbitt to Melton Town.
But the club has been strengthened in recent weeks by the signings of Tyler Sibson and Joe Hartopp, while the return from injury of full-back Liam Chapman on Saturday was another huge plus.
Peacock was also keen to point to the example of captain Aaron Ridout who has played through injury in Holwell’s defence for the past six weeks.
“I have never known anything like it in the 16 years I’ve been involved with senior football,” added Peacock.
“We’ve had so many players injured or away, but we have an unbelievable squad that just needs a bit of luck.
“It has been hard because no-one enjoys losing when they are giving up their time.
“Our first team squad is relatively small and we’ve been too reliant on younger players while the seniors have been unavailable.
“We have some top young lads coming through who have a big future, but you don’t want to affect their future and confidence with bad results.
“Our priority now this season, realistically, is to get out of the relegation places, but when we have out strongest 11, we have top-half-of-the-table quality without a doubt.”
Results had been picking up with three successive draws, but an 8-3 defeat at Arnold was a new season low and piled on more scrutiny.
But Peacock believes support from the board was never in question.
“Quitting or walking away has never been an option for us,” he said. “John is 100 per cent the right man for the job.
“In the past four to five weeks the team has been improving and results have been better. The draws we had against Stapenhill and Aylestone Park should have been wins, and we just felt it was coming.
“We had a big setback at Arnold, but it was a freak result.
“We have always felt we had the club’s backing and we are confident we can move the club forward now everyone’s back.”