Stanley boss Leam Richardson has targeted seven wins for League Two safety – starting with tomorrow’s cut-price six pointer against AFC Wimbledon.
It’s just £5 for adults and £1 for under 12s to watch the clash with 50p going to support local youngster Finley Rosbotham as he looks to raise £20,000 for local therapy centre Holly House.
Richardson’s side are hoping a bumper crowd will cheer them on to a much-needed victory as the Reds have dropped to within four points of the bottom two.
Wimbledon are 23rd in the table – but have two games in hand on 19th-placed Stanley.
“Every game is a cup final between now and the end of the season,” said the Reds boss, whose side lost 2-0 at fellow strugglers Aldershot on Saturday.
“We have had an unfortunate couple of results but we can’t keep going on about that now as we can’t change them.
“All we can do is look forward to the next game and we have got to stay positive.
“I am excited about the Wimbledon game, the club have worked hard to make it appealing to fans by reducing the price and we do need as many fans as possible to get behind the team as we are working hard to get back to winning ways.
“There are 18 games to go and, regardless of where we are at the moment, we think we need seven wins out of them.
“We can only affect ourselves, we have games against the teams around us and seven wins should be enough to keep us in the Football League.”
Richardson is scouring the transfer market, having missed out on a couple of loan players this week, but had hopes of adding a defender and midfielder to his squad in time for the Dons clash.
“We do need more experience,” he said. “We have a young squad and I think, mentally and physically, all these games have now taken their toll on some of the young lads.
“The likes of Dean Winnard, Peter Murphy and Luke Joyce are okay but for a lot of our current players, it’s the first time in their careers they have played so many games in the Football League.
“You can see that it is taking its toll during the season. We have had periods of dips and it’s down to the inexperience, they are not used to playing Saturday-Tuesday every week, and it is a problem which we are trying to address by adding a couple of players.”
Despite a new six-figure sponsorship deal over three years with Store First being announced this week, the tight playing budget and wages the Reds can pay do mean they miss out on players wanted by other clubs.
“We were looking at a player from Sheffield Wednesday but he may go to Southend,” said Richardson.
“We are always up against it but we are working hard. It’s easy to see where the problems are and what we need to do to address the problem.
“It’s solving them with the finances available which makes it difficult but it’s a challenge I have taken on and I am enjoying it.
“It is my job to keep the players positive and upbeat and they need to get that belief back.”
The club are in talks with keeper Paul Rachubka about a permanent deal but he is still in discussions with his current club Leeds United.
It could mean Bury loan stopper Cameron Belford signs another one-week emergency deal in time for Saturday’s massive clash.
Meanwhile striker Padraig Amond is hoping to have recovered from a groin strain which kept him out of the Shots clash – even though he did make the trip to watch his team-mates.
“It was frustrating watching as you head and kick every ball,” said the 24-year-old. “We played well in patches but we do know we need to be more consistent.
“We have been going behind and not always been able to capitalise but we did against Gillingham and Plymouth and we have got to remember those games as we could have gone on and won them both.
“We have got to start keeping clean sheets and all the lads are working really hard. We aren’t having any luck at the moment and probably aren’t doing ourselves justice but I am sure it will turn around.”
The worrying thing for Stanley on Saturday was that the teams below them all picked up points to close the gap on the Reds.
“I was sat with Peter Murphy’s dad and he kept reading out the results,” continued Amond. “I told him to stop as it was getting worse and worse.
“It means it’s a big six-pointer for us against Wimbledon but every game is huge. We have just got to look after ourselves and make sure we win.”
Amond, with seven goals to his name this season, admits he is going through something of a goal drought as he last scored in October – but he is sure it will come good.
“It is frustrating for me too that I haven’t had a couple more,” he revealed. “I had one cleared off the line against Chesterfield; I have come close a couple of times but it just hasn’t happened. But I am confident when I get back that, once I get one, I will go on a run and I will make my targets for the season.”
STANLEY have parted company with former Everton defender Toto Nsiala, who had picked up 10 yellow cards in his 20 games for the Reds this season. “It was mutually beneficial for both parties to terminate his contract,” said Richardson.