Chesterfield are not dead yet, but will only pull off the great escape if their commitment is absolute, says manager Jack Lester.
The Spireites remain marooned at the bottom of League Two, seven points adrift of safety, following a 2-1 defeat at play-off contenders Exeter City on Tuesday night and face a potentially decisive trip to Forest Green Rovers on Saturday.
The Gloucestershire villagers are 21st in the table and could yet be dragged back into the relegation zone but Lester believes that will only happen if his troops give everything to prevent what would be the most disastrous end to a season in the club’s long history.
Lester tried to remain upbeat after the loss at Exeter, insisting that a second consecutive relegation for the club was not yet inevitable.
“It is a big game and they will be seeing that as getting themselves safe if they win it. We must go and make it very difficult for them, and try and nick it,” said the Chesterfield boss.
“I would like to think we can get out of this but we have to win games.
“Unless we start being a bigger threat in the box, it won’t happen. We need more desire.
“A win would kickstart a lot of things. It is not dead. We do need that win and it has been hard to come by in recent weeks.”
Andy Kellett’s strike proved in vain as Jayden Stockley’s first-half effort and an own goal from Alex Whitmore condemned Chesterfield at St James Park.
Lester set his team out to attack Exeter but admitted that his side failed to do enough to warrant all three points.
He said: “We wanted two strikers up the pitch. We have not had a lot of joy off the wingers in recent weeks so we changed the formation and gave people chance to impress.
“We need people to score goals and create goals, and I was hoping we would get some of that, but we didn’t get enough of securing the ball from the front two or movement in behind.
“We were okay in between both boxes for the majority of it but games are won and lost in both boxes, and that has been the story in recent times.
“There is not a game that we haven’t tried to win and we still need to try and get three wins.”