Eastbourne Borough boss Garry Wilson has urged his players to forget their league position and play with a smile as the size of their survival task grows.
The Sports sit rock bottom of the Blue Square Bet Premier, having picked up just one point from a possible 39 and are now eight points adrift of safety.
Saturday’s home draw with Histon ended a run of 12 consecutive league defeats, but that was followed by a loss, albeit one which included encouraging moments, to Rushden on Tuesday.
They are on the road again this weekend, making the 650-mile round trip to the Lancashire coast, to take on play-off chasing Fleetwood Town.
Boro’ made the journey north this morning (Friday), ahead of their first ever meeting with newly-promoted Town.
And Wilson is not expecting miracles. “It’ll be a different type of game (to Rushden),” he said. “Fleetwood will be a strong side, one of the big-money spenders in the league, their chairman has made a massive contribution to the club. It will be a hard game; we’ve seen them on TV and our scouts have watched them.
“Whatever, we’ll keep playing with a smile on our face, play and try to entertain, until it’s mathematically impossible (to stay up).
“You get one win, then two wins and you can go on a run, it’s just getting that first win.
“We’ve got to try and forget the league position, and work hard and try to get a win and lift the pressure off ourselves, but I know it’s easy saying that.
“We’ve seen a flash on Saturday; we saw a spark on Tuesday night.”
Wilson has been forced to chop and change his side in recent weeks as the strains of the season continue to show.
Gary Elphick was an unused substitute in midweek, sidelined by a calf problem and the manager admits his condition will have to be carefully managed.
“Gary had this calf injury and then we’ve thrown him back in and maybe overplayed him. He could have played Tuesday, but we just felt three games in a week is a big ask,” added Wilson.
“I think we know that when we played Tuesday and Saturday we have got to make use of our whole squad, or we end up with very tired performances.”
Steve Brinkhurst was substituted with an injured foot against Rushden, while Simon Johnson was also withdrawn with a knock, but both could feature at Fleetwood. Ross Treleaven remains a long-term absentee, but the winger may return to action before the end of the season.