PAUL Moore has said tomorrow’s meeting with Carlton Town marks the start of a sequence of games that Northwich Victoria have to win if they are to avoid being relegated.
Vics occupy last place in the Northern Premier League’s Division One South, and sit seven points adrift of a position of safety, following a 4-0 defeat at Stamford in midweek.
They have not won any of their past five games, and have conceded 17 goals while losing four of them.
Gresley are their guests at Wincham Park on Wednesday before a trip to play-offs hopefuls AFC Rushden & Diamonds next weekend.
“To describe the next three games as ‘must win’ is an understatement,” said the manager.
“We’ve not been good in recent weeks, but we’ve suffered from not having experienced players available.”
Captain Reece Lyndon, unavailable to travel on Tuesday due to work commitments, returns at the heart of Vics’ back-line.
Wide man Yaw Gyimah is back too, while striker Dave Short and versatile midfielder Matty Clarke have completed suspensions.
That means Moore can be optimistic of seeing an improved performance than the one he saw against the Daniels, who recovered in style from a five-goal drubbing by Stocksbridge in front of their own supporters last Saturday.
“We simply didn’t turn up,” said the former Colwyn Bay boss.
“We were weak in most areas, and second-best as a result.”
He did though save praise for Lingouba Cesaire, a midfielder, and striker Favour Imade following their first fortnight at the club.
Moore added: “They’ve both settled in quickly, and Cesaire in particular looks a quality addition.”
Improving Carlton have moved 14 points clear of the drop zone following back-to-back wins against Sheffield, last Saturday, and Stocksbridge.
Striker Alex Troke has completed a move from Coalville Town following a successful loan spell, while Aaron Hooton marked his return from a long-term injury with a cameo as a substitute last weekend.
However defender Kieran Walker sat out the same game with a knock.
Kick off is at 3pm.