AFC Sudbury will be looking to cement a Ryman League Division One North play-off spot when they travel to Waltham Abbey on Saturday (3pm).
And, after a disappointing defeat at Brightlingsea Regent on Easter Monday, manager Jamie Godbold feels his players have a point to prove.
“Too many players didn’t play to their potential on Monday,” he said. “They have set such high standards in recent weeks, and it was a disappointing display after a great result on the Saturday.”
The 3-0 defeat at Brightlingsea, which followed a 5-1 win at home against relegation-threatened Barkingside on Saturday, saw AFC slip to fourth place.
After a 14-match unbeaten league run, a club record, AFC have lost two of their last three games.
With three league games left, they are a point behind Brentwood Town in third, who also have a match in hand. AFC need four points to be certain of a top five play-off spot.
“Every week the table looks different, and after Saturday it could be looking different again,” said Godbold.
He has targeted at least two wins in the last three games, and is still eying a third place finish and a home semi-final tie. But first AFC have to clinch a play-off spot.
“We have to just take each game as it comes,” he said. “We have got to win games as we are not there yet.”
Waltham Abbey sit in mid-table. “They have nothing to play for,” said Godbold, “so they might already be on their holidays. But we can’t take that for granted. There is no pressure on them.
“But as long as we have our game in order, then we have to be confident that we can go there to win. And victory could well mean that by Saturday night we are definitely in the play-offs,” he said.
Defender Scott Mitchell, signed from Leiston two weeks ago, is set to make the first appearance of his second spell with the club after sitting out the Easter fixtures while serving a suspension.
Bookings will be a factor in team selection, with both Ollie Berquez and Ryan Henshaw one card away from a ban.
He said: “None of them want to miss the play-offs. But you don’t want them afraid to make a tackle if a yellow could get them suspended.”
After what he described as ‘a bad day at the office’ at Brightlingsea, he said: “I’m looking forward to getting back on the training pitch on Thursday and putting Monday behind us.”