Skipper Sean Newton admits it could all be over for York City if they fail to win at Gainsborough Trinity this weekend.
The Minstermen have just four league games remaining in which to regain any credibility having continued to seriously underperform over the past seven months.
Both Chorley and Blyth Spartans still have games in hand on seventh-placed York, who were clear second-favourites for the title at the start of the season, and the opportunity of denying them even involvement in the play-offs.
“If we don’t get the win, I think it’s over,” Newton admitted to BBC Radio York. “That’s where we’re at. We didn’t want to be in this situation but we’re literally playing where three points is a must. Not even a point, we have to win the game.
“We’ve underachieved massively and would be lying if we said we haven’t,” he continued. “But we are where we are and have to give our all for the next four games and get in the play-offs.”
Meanwhile, Newton says he would have no problems with starting alongside bright young hopefuls Flynn McNaughton, 17, and Vinnie Steels, 16, who both came off the bench in midweek.
“They look ready but obviously it’s hard to throw young kids straight in because you don’t want to demoralise them if they have a bad game,” he added. “They are definitely good enough but it’s just up to the manager whether they play or not. I’d be more than happy to play alongside them, they’re good players.”