Andy Peaks believes the Easter weekend will be “vital” for AFC Rushden & Diamonds if they are to get their season back on track.
Diamonds go into the double-header of matches on the back of four successive defeats, which have derailed their title challenge in the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central.
They are now six points behind leaders Kings Langley following the 2-1 home reverse to Uxbridge last weekend and are now facing a fight to hold on to a play-off place with Aylesbury and Northwood hot on their heels.
Northwood are the visitors to the Dog & Duck tomorrow (Saturday) before Peaks’ team head to Arlesey Town on Easter Monday.
And the Diamonds boss says his team must start dealing with the fact that they are a “big scalp” if they are to get back on course.
Peaks said: “It is a big weekend for us. It’s vital we get back on track.
“It’s two games in three days and it is always a crucial part of the season when you are fighting for something.
“Northwood are right on our tails and they are a good team.
“We realise that everyone wants to beat us, everyone wants to shoot us down and I am sure there are plenty of people who are smirking about what’s happened recently.
“I go and watch teams and then when I see them play against us, they look totally different.
“I think that’s because we are a big scalp and other clubs want us in the division next season because of the away following we have.
“It’s something we have to deal with.
“The boys have been feeling a bit sorry for themselves but that’s natural in a situation like this. They are lacking a bit of confidence at the moment.
“But we have to come through it, I know I still have a good squad here. We have to make sure we do all we can to turn things around.”
Peaks celebrated his two-year anniversary at the helm at Diamonds this week.
Having originally taken charge on a caretaker basis, he led his team to the UCL Premier Division title in his first full season in charge while they also won the UCL Knockout Cup for good measure.
“I have had a few messages off people after being here for two years but I am realistic and just always look at the next game,” he added.
“If someone had given me the success we have had and the position we are in at the moment at the start of those two years then I would have taken it, of course.
“But it has been a fantastic two years and I know I will come through this tough spell we are having as a better manager.
“This was a team that was top of the table not too long ago and I am sure things will turn for us again as long as we stick to our beliefs.”
Shawn Richards will be available for the clash after returning to the club this week while Lewis Leslie is also expected to be fit following injury.