Hemel Hempstead Town head to Eastbourne Borough on Saturday knowing that nothing but a win will realistically be good enough if they are to maintain their push for the National League South playoff places.
The Tudors currently sit sixth in the table, one place behind Maidenhead United who occupy the last playoff spot. They are three points adrift of the Magpies, with a game in hand, and will need a win on Saturday to keep the pressure on their playoff rivals.
Looking ahead at the game, Hemel manager Dean Brennan said: “They have got a very experienced manager, some experienced players, and a lot of ability going forward with a lot of pace in their front line and out wide.
“It’s like we say every week, we have got to be on our game if we want to take anything from it because it is going to be a very tough game.
“We went down there earlier in the season and they beat us 7-4 in an unbelievable game of football, and they showed us that day the quality that they have when we had a much stronger squad.
“We played them at our place a few weeks ago and beat them 1-0 so we were very pleased with the clean sheet and it is important that we get another one this weekend.
We are creating chances and looking more solid but this is cup final football now.Dean Brennan
“They have got an array of forwards who would walk into most sides at this level – it is going to be another hard game because there are no easy games at this level,
“Eastbourne are a good club, very friendly, and they are very well supported. We are looking forward to going down there and testing ourselves against a very ambitious club.”
Michael Richens returns from suspension, but James Potton, Ed Asafu-Adjaye, Xavier Vidal, James Simmonds and Nikolay Todarov are all unavailable for the Tudors. The club is still waiting for international clearance for ex-Chelsea defender Daniel Pappoe.
“As long as we keep that togetherness, keep that work ethic, and keep that drive within the squad, we will do OK,” said Brennan.
“We are creating chances and looking more solid but this is cup final football now. We can’t look any further forward than Eastbourne, because we are taking it one game at a time.
“I think it is a total miracle that we are in the position that we are. There are clubs out there who are fighting against relegation despite investing heavily in their sides over the last few months.
“This season has been frustrating at times, but we have done really well to stay in the top-10 for most of the season and it’s great to be in the position that we are in.”