ACCRINGTON Stanley boss John Coleman faces what is possibly the 10 biggest games in the club's history - and he is urging the town to get behind his side.
Last season's promotion to League Two was an all-time high for the Reds.
But, in the week which marks the 45th anniversary of Stanley's resignation from the Football League, a crowd of just 1,300 turned up to watch Stanley's draw with Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night as they battle for League survival.
And Coleman is desperate to do everything to make sure his side - currently three points and two places off the drop zone - save themselves in their final 10 games and don't become the first team to make an instant return to the Nationwide Conference.
"We have got five home games left and it will be a pity if the fans deserted us now," said the Reds chief.
"It is like a vicious circle as the fans need something to inspire them and spark them into life.
"They had that all last season as it was unbridled highs on the pitch.
"Last season we needed the fans for different reasons - for finances and such like - this season we need them to help us through these last five home games which are massive.
"At times, though, it was like a morgue on Tuesday, and we need them to become the 12th man for us.
"The fans are really good away from home but at home, perhaps because they are so spread out and there is no cover, the noise isn't as loud.
"And we really do need them - I would like to see them perhaps all get under the cover opposite the dug-outs but I guess they like to stand behind the goals.
"But whatever we need them to get behind us, and the people in the town to get behind us ,and they have got to will us on to win at home.
"The fans have got to drive us on as have the players - everyone around us has got to try hard."
And Coleman admitted that, despite never finishing in the bottom half of any table in his ten years as a manager, he believes staying in League Two would be one of his biggest achievements to date.
"Staying up this season will be like winning the Conference last season and we just need to get ourselves back on track," said the Reds chief, whose side have won one of their last seven games and taken five out of the last 21 points.
"A couple of wins can make all the difference."
Coleman thinks 13 more points can guarantee survival in League Two
That means they need at least four wins from the ten remaining games but the Reds do face the top four in the league, starting with fourth placed Swindon tomorrow (Sat) as well as second placed Walsall, leaders Hartlepool and third placed MK Dons.
They also come up against a couple of the teams around them - with their next home game against bottom club Torquay United a week tomorrow a must-win encounter.
"Everyone tends to think 50 points will save you but I think 48 might do the job," said Coleman. "But we are on 35 and it seems a long, long way away but we have got to get our heads down and try and get a couple of wins.
"I think it will be close though. I spent Wednesday morning going through the last 10 or 11 games of the bottom six teams in League Two and it is going to be really close.
"It will boil down to how people do in their home games and, if you win your homes games, then you haven't got a problem.
"That's why our current run at home is so annoying," continued Coleman with the Reds winning just one of their last 12 games at the Fraser Eagle Stadium.
"I don't know why we haven't been getting the results at home.
"The pitch isn't the best but I think perhaps we have got a bit edgy. We are trying to get that extra pass in front of goal and we do look a bit nervous.
"It is something we need to address and just one win will hopefully do that."
Coleman hasn't ruled out bringing in more loan signings before the end of the season.
He is hopeful Liverpool goalkeeper David Martin, who injured his ankle on his Stanley debut against Lincoln two weeks ago, will return to the club next week.
Regular shot-stopper Ian Dunbavin has had his cast removed from his knee and is looking at being back for the Hereford clash so Coleman, for once, could have a wealth of goalies at his disposal.
And he admitted he had been on the hunt in other positions too.
"I would still like to add a striker but I would like to strengthen everywhere else too," he said. "I think that would perk us up.
"Saying that, Leighton McGivern is just a couple of weeks away from coming back after his broken ankle and I think his return will be a boost for the club.
"I have made enquiries for a few players but we can't force people to come to the club so we will continue as we are."
And he hopes to pull off a shock tomorrow by ruining Swindon's automatic promotion hopes at the County Ground.
"I am quite confident," said the Reds chief. "It is one of those games which tends to suit us with a big stadium, a wide pitch and a team who like to get the ball down and play. We have got to get among them and you never know."
Coleman has a fully fit squad to choose from apart from experienced midfielder Tony Grant who was having treatment on his Achilles which kept him out of the Bristol Rovers clash.
- FORMER Stanley player Barry Smith has died. Smith made three appearances for the Reds in the 1961 season. He also played for Bradford, Stockport and Oldham among others.