Stanley manager John Coleman admits it’s a make or break time for his side’s promotion push after three disappointing results.
The Reds have picked up just one point from their last nine and, following seven wins in eight league games that pushed them to the fringes of the play-off places prior to that, they have dropped down to 13th spot in League Two.
It’s still a tight league though – Stanley are just four points off the top seven with games in hand – but it’s a testing time for the Reds squad.
They face what Coleman has billed a "massive match" tomorrow against Bradford, who have just appointed former England caretaker boss Peter Taylor as their new manager, and then Burton Albion on Tuesday at home in crunch clashes.
"Tomorrow is a massive game again," said the Reds chief. "We have fluffed our lines in the last three games but we don’t become a bad side overnight and it is up to us to put it right."
In their last three matches, the Reds have lost to Northampton and drawn with Macclesfield but what hurt most was a last-minute defeat to struggling Lincoln on Tuesday night which left Coleman devastated.
Stanley missed a hatful of chances and then conceded two goals in the last 10 minutes and the Reds boss is threatening player changes now the transfer embargo has been lifted.
He has already added young midfielder Alan Burton to the squad who came through the ranks with Stanley but has been playing for Marine while the 20-player limit was on.
"We did well for 80 minutes and then, if you don’t take your chances, you are going to get punished," said Coleman.
"We have to learn from it, it is not good enough, we have had a magnificent support at Lincoln from our fans and we have let them down – well they have been let down by the players. I will be the first to hold my hand up if I make a mistake but they have been let down by 11 players who, not so much have lost the will to win, but who have got nervous about winning and are defending in the wrong areas and not defending anywhere near the way I have told them to defend.
"And if they won’t do it my way, then I will just have to get defenders who will do it my way."
Coleman admitted he was shell-shocked by the result and could ring the changes for the clash against 17th placed Bradford, who usually bring a bumper crowd. He said: "I was confident going into the Lincoln game as I know we are a better side than Lincoln and my opinion has not changed, even though they have taken three points from us.
"The frustrating thing is that last 10 minutes on Tuesday night could be the thing which stops us going to Wembley this season. It could send us one way or another and it’s not acceptable.
"It is only the second time we have lost when we have led 1-0 this season and in both situations, we missed chances and defended sloppily and we can’t defend as deep as we did for second goal.
"The players have let themselves down. They are the ones who were going to have the enjoyment of playing in an action packed finish to the season and, at this moment in time, it tending towards not happening."
The last two displays, against struggling clubs, have been far cries from earlier in the season when the Reds were seeing off the likes of leaders Rochdale and big spending Notts County on their own territory.
Coleman continued: "Whether we are going into these games with a different mindset, going in expected to win, and expecting to take all three points. I don’t know.
"The chances we missed at Lincoln defy belief and they have got to be taken."
The worry for Coleman s that the Reds have scored just one goal in three games and Michael Symes, with 14 goals this season, has gone six games without a goal and last scored in the league on December 28.
"Michael has got to get out of it and do it quickly," said the Reds boss. "You are only as good as your last goal, and Michael scoring in the league seems a long time ago."
Midfielder Luke Joyce has missed the last two games with a dead leg but was back training with the squad this week and was hoping to be back in contention for tomorrow.