Mick Catlin insists it’s time for the gloves to come off and for Gosport Borough to start scrapping for their Skrill South lives.
Second-from-bottom Borough have not been in league action for 10 days as they prepare to host Sutton United at Privett Park tonight (7.45pm).
But assistant manager Catlin believes that might work in their favour for their latest outing.
Refreshed and having had a chance to regroup, he expects Alex Pike’s squad to be fighting fit for a clash against a side currently sitting third in the league table.
And with four points separating Borough from third-from-bottom Boreham Wood, Catlin admits Gosport cannot afford to let that gap grow.
‘We know that we need to start getting results from somewhere,’ said Catlin.
‘Not playing last weekend was weird but can prove to be a blessing in disguise.
‘It has given us the chance to get a few injuries sorted and the opportunity to regroup.
‘We can’t afford to fall too far behind the teams immediately above us and are determined to scrap our way out of this situation.
‘The players know how much hard work it took to get up into this league and we want to stay here.
‘All the talk at the start of the season about challenging for the play-offs may have been a little naive.
‘We have a better idea now of what we are up against and must adapt and grind out more wins.’
That won’t be easy, though, against a high-flying Sutton side who recently thumped the Hawks 5-0 at Westleigh Park.
Managed by ex-Eastleigh boss Paul Doswell, they are a side packed with experience and possess a potent threat going forward.
The home defence can expect a tough examination, particularly as regular centre-half Lee Molyneaux is still out injured.
That means the pairing of Andy Forbes and Sam Pearce, who did superbly in the 2-1 win over Tonbridge in Borough’s last home game, continues at the heart of the defence.
Pike may also decide to recall goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore after he lost his place to Gareth Barfoot for the past couple of league games.
Barfoot has done little wrong but Borough may opt for the greater physical presence of Ashmore against the powerful visitors.
‘We have some difficult decisions to make but there is plenty of experience in our side and we have to start utilising it,’ said Catlin.
‘All the players will need to be at the top of their game if we are to upset Sutton.
‘It’s not just about them because we are capable of causing them a few problems, too.
‘We have discovered that there are no easy games but need to find greater consistency.
‘We were good against Tonbridge and then the following week were poor at Bath City.’
Up front is another area where Borough need to sharpen up.
Tonight, Pike will choose two from Rory Williams, Dan Wooden and Justin Bennett.
Gosport Borough: Ashmore, Barfoot, Poate, Pearce, Forbes, Hinshelwood, Igoe, Dunford, Brown, Smith, Williams, Wooden, Bennett, Gosney, Martin