GREAT Harwood's leading goalscorer Paul Mashiter has no doubts that his side will survive the dreaded drop this season.
The former Accrington Stanley hitman has scored 14 goals for the Robins since August striking up a prolific parntership with John Eastham who has got 10.
But this hasn't saved them from being bottom of the table and facing a relegation battle in the NWCL Division One.
However, they travel to Alsager on Saturday (3pm) and face a local derby at home to Bacup on December 27 (3pm), ready to pick up six points and battle on.
"I think we can stop up," said the 25-year-old who has been at Harwood for three years.
"If we can get a few wins under our belt over Christmas, we can pull out of the bottom two and I think we can press on and perhaps move towards mid-table.
"It is a lot to ask but we have some good players here and as long as we tighten up defensively we can always score goals."
Harwood are seven points adrift from second from bottom Formby - two go down - but have four games in hand.
It has been a tough season, with two managers leaving, winning just two league encounters and losing four points for accidentally fielding an ineligible player - his papers had got lost and Harwood realised themselves and reported it to the FA but were still punished.
However, now "Mashy" says they are ready to put all this behind them and go all-out to stay in Division One after being promoted last season.
"It is hard being at the bottom," said the Blackburn-born player. "We are making the chances, we have a good midfield but defensively we have been punished. We have changed managers but we have had the same settled side for the last few weeks and it is beginning to pay off.
"There is a good team spirit here - we have a mixture of youth and experience and all had a Christmas party in Blackburn last week and enjoyed it.
"Now we just have to get it right on the pitch. Dave (Sharples, the manager) has added some experience to the squad - he has recently signed Ged Walsh and we have Dennis Hill and Andy Taylor and Pricey (David Price) on loan from Clitheroe. Hopefully they will make a difference."
Mashiter, who was at Stanley when he was 18 and played alongside Brett Ormerod, is happy with his goal-tally so far this season and has set himself a target of 25.
"We are around half way there and have 22 matches left so if I can get another 10 or 15, I will be more than happy," said the striker who scored 82 in a season aged 10 for Blue Star while, at senior level, his best is 35. "The best goal I have scored this season was probably against Stone in our 5-3 win when I got the ball on the half way line, beat the defence and it went in.
"But it doesn't matter who scores at the moment, it is all about picking up points and that is what we need to do."
Despite four points from their previous two games, Harwood lost 3-0 to high-flying Newcastle Town on Saturday. "They have quality in the side but John (Eastham) hit the post and their keeper had a few saves to make. We just had no luck," added Mashiter.