ALTRINCHAM must beat Braintree Town and hope other results go their way to avoid National League relegation on Saturday’s final day of the season (17:30 BST).
Currently three points adrift of safety, Neil Tolson’s side need to win then hope bitter rivals Macclesfield Town do them a favour by beating Halifax Town.
Alty will also need Guiseley to fail to win against Torquay United, or else a return to the sixth tier beckons after just two seasons.
Relegation would’ve been confirmed last weekend, but Tolson’s men recovered to end an eight game winless streak by thrashing rock-bottom Welling United 5-0.
Before the victory, he claimed that team spirit would be key to any survival chances.
“They (the squad) are not players on the brink of giving up,” he said.
“I remember as a player going to Rotherham with York, needing to win and another team lose, and it panned out that way.
“We stayed up against the odds on the final day and it can happen again,” he added.
Braintree Town themselves have much to play for too, with just a point needed to guarantee a place in the play-offs.
Last weekend’s 3-2 win over Wrexham was the Essex side’s third consecutive victory after a run of four winless games looked to end their chances of making the top five.
Danny Cowley’s side look in prime position to pip Tranmere Rovers and Eastleigh to fifth-place, and the 43-year-old insists his team have nothing to fear as the season approaches boiling point.
“For us, I don’t think we have anything to fear. Certainly there’s no pressure or expectation on our shoulders,” Cowley told ITV.
“We’re just going to go in, make sure that we keep getting the processes right, keep trying to outwork teams and see where it gets us.”
Cowley will be hoping for a repeat of November’s reverse fixture, in which his side won 4-0 thanks to goals from Michael Cheek, Kenny Davis, Anthony Edgar and Taylor Miles.
Cheek remains The Irons’ top goalscorer this season with 13 league goals, closely followed by Simeon Akinkola (9) and Davis (8).
The fixture will also be screened live on BT Sport.
Braintree: King, Long, Phillips, Brundle, Habergham, Clerima, Paine, Miles, Cheek, Akinkola, Woodward, Davis, Sparkes, Edgar, Cardwell.
Altrincham: Deasy, Leather, Havern, Moult, Griffin, Holness, Lawrie, Sinnott, Ginnelly, Rankine, Reeves, Richman, Heathcote, O’Keefe, Williams, Saville.
Referee: Ollie Yates (Staffordshire)
By Ashley Thornton-Jones