After four straight defeats, Bury St Edmunds captain Dan Collins has labelled tomorrow’s clash at struggling Exmouth (2.30pm) as a ‘must-win’ game
The Wolfpack’s steady start to their second season in National League Two South has quickly been undone, with Gavin Hogg’s side’s failure to register a victory from their last four outings seeing them just a point above the bottom three relegation places, despite being 11th.
And Bury will make the 288-mile trip to Devon today with their skipper warning coming back from their nine hour round-trip empty handed is simply not an option, if they are to avoid being dragged into a relegation dogfight.
“For us it is a must-win,” said Collins of facing second-from-bottom Exmouth.
“You have got to beat the teams that are below you in the table.
“It is one of those games we have to go down there and win. It is a big trip down there but maybe a weekend trip will pull the boys together a bit more, heading down on the Friday and get their heads around the game a bit more.”
Bury’s sticky patch last season came at the turn of the year, where they lost five on the bounce. And Collins is desperate for a morale-boosting win to avoid equalling that losing streak.
“Even looking at last year, we lost five straight, and we needed that turning point and then we put together a couple of wins,” he said.
“I think this year is going to be the same. We need to go down to Exmouth and put a bit of confidence into the side.
“If we can get a couple of good wins before Christmas it will really give us a (helping) hand going into the second round.”
But the New Zealand-born hooker is not expecting anything like an easy ride in Devon, despite their opponents having only a solitary victory to their name this season, that coming two weekends ago at home to fellow strugglers Barnstaple.
“For them they will be targeting us with four losses, even though they have been against teams right at the top of the table, they will be looking at it as a game they can steal,” he said.
“We have really got to go down their with the same mentally as the last four weeks: that we are playing a top-four side because this is their grand final.”
With Bury having used more players this season than in the whole of their last campaign, with Welsh second-row Matthew Hall, having come over from Australia, the latest debutant on Saturday, Collins refused to use an unsettled side as an excuse for their dip in form.
“It is good and bad having the depth we have, but at the same time the boys have got to start putting their hand up to actually start to keep their spot.”
He added: “People know they have a bit of pressure on them this year and there are guys biting at their heels to get in the side. That pressure sometimes pushes people to do a bit too much and sometimes you just need to wind back on the individual stuff and play more together.”