HEBBURN Town manager Scott Oliver says there’s no need for his team to be nervous as they enter a crucial four days in their promotion bid.
The Hornets, who are fifth in Northern League Division Two, travel to fourth-placed Norton and Stockton Ancients tonight.
Hebburn are two places and six points behind their opponents, but have two games in hand, while the top three will win promotion.
On Saturday, Oliver’s side face another tough trip, to Whickham, but he is not apprehensive ahead of what could be a defining week.
He said: “Tonight is a very important game, and I think to keep the pressure on, we need to win the next two games.
“We’re not going to be going into either game looking for a point – we need to be looking for wins.
“We’ve only lost one of our last 12 games, and have won 10 of those, so there’s no need for us to go into tonight’s game nervous.
“We need to try and put another three or four wins together, as I’m sure teams will drop points.
“Washington and Team Northumbria, who are second and third, don’t play on Saturday, so we have two games before they next play again, and that’s an opportunity for us. It’s still in our own hands.”
Norton are unbeaten at home so far this season, but were beaten 4-0 at Hebburn in August.
Hebburn go into tonight’s game on the back of three consecutive home fixtures, from which they gained four points.
On Saturday, they were held to a 0-0 draw by Thornaby, and Oliver admits they will have to show significant improvement on that performance if they are to win tonight.
He added: “We didn’t play well at all on Saturday. We were absolutely awful in the first half, and I don’t know where that came from.
“We were nowhere near our normal level, but we were better in the second half.
“Luckily, we managed to get a point, because we could have easily lost the game.
“Thornaby have won 60 points this season and are certainly no mugs, and in many ways it was a point gained. We could easily have lost.
“It was one of those days for us, and it happens sometimes. The lads were very disappointed on Saturday, but I fully expect them to bounce back over the next couple of games.”
Hebburn will be without Gary Rogers for tonight’s 7.30pm kick-off, while Andrew McIntosh and Owen Peterson are still out injured.