Relegation threat piles pressure on Havant & Waterlooville ahead of Sutton trip
The Hawks are staring down the barrel of the Vanarama National League relegation gun as they journey to take on Sutton United at Gander Green Lane on Saturday (3pm).
They are seven points adrift of safety following the hugely disappointing 2-1 defeat at Maidenhead United in midweek.
The odds are increasingly stacking up against them in their bid to stay up.
It is now or never for Lee Bradbury’s side with just six games left to overhaul their rivals.
If they are to manage a great escape the Hawks will need to make a vast improvement.
Mike Carter insists the Hawks aren’t ready to throw in the towel.
He said: ‘We must put the defeat behind us and be ready to go again.
‘This result makes it tough but we are not going to give up until it is mathematically impossible to stay up.
‘It is not in our nature to give up. There are another three points at stake this weekend and we have to grab them.
‘If we do and any of our rivals slip up then the gap won’t be so great.
‘We know what is in front of us and that it won’t be easy.
‘The players are determined to keep believing until the last kick of the season.
‘Without doubt we will give it everything that we have got.’
Losing at York Road was a massive source of frustration for Bradbury’s team.
It means they can’t afford to lose at Sutton which brings added pressure.
Their display in midweek was poor and lacked quality all over the pitch.
The defenders were outmuscled for both the home goals and the forwards until the final minutes were lightweight.
With the ball spending a lot of time in the air it meant the midfield was largely bypassed.
Carter accepted the display wasn’t good enough.
He added: ‘It was gutting to come up a bit short and lose such an important game.
‘There was plenty of effort but we just lacked a bit of quality in the end.
‘I thought we matched them for long periods of the game but didn't really get the rub of the green.
‘A couple of lapses in concentration then cost us.
‘We have found ourselves in a similar situation for a while now.
‘It’s all been down to fine margins all season.
‘Our work-rate and character was spot on and we have to maintain that going forward.
‘At the end we had a right go, pulled a goal back and I thought we deserved to get something from it.’
Bradbury is expected to make changes as he looks for a vital win.
Goalscorer Matt Paterson could be recalled in place of Joe Quigley who was largely anonymous in midweek.
Goalkeeper Martija Sarkic and midfielder Harry Donovan are likely to continue after making sound debuts.