EASTWOOD Town boss John Ramshaw wants his depleted squad to go down fighting as they face up to relegation from the Blue Square Bet North.
While it still remains mathematically possible for the Badgers to stay up, it would take a remarkable run of form and several slip-ups from those above for safety to be a possibility.
And with several non-contract players having chosen to leave Eastwood last week, Ramshaw is keen that those who remain battle hard to regain some pride before the season is out.
He said: “I accept that we’re going to be relegated, but there’s going down with dignity and there’s going down with humiliation.
“We owe it to our fans and everybody connected with the club to keep trying to perform well each week and while it will be difficult given our current squad situation, we have to battle on.
“We don’t want to go to places and get hammered every week as that doesn’t help anyone, so we want to give as good an account of ourselves as we possibly can and that’s all we will try and do.
“I hope the fans will stick with us. We’re at home to Harrogate this weekend and of course the crowds have dropped recently because people want to see winning teams and we’ve not delivered too much on that front, but the desire is there and the support is appreciated.”
Paul Riley, Francis Green, Craig Nelthorpe, Bradley Munn and Craig Davies all opted to leave Coronation Park last week while Chris Shaw, Mitch Hanson, Kallum Keane and Markel Bailey have all chosen to remain on non-contract terms but at a much-reduced rate.
Ramshaw said: “The problem was that about 80 per cent of the wage bill was being taken up by the contracted players, which left very, very little to pay those six or seven extra players we need to make up a squad but who weren’t on contract.
“We told the players involved about the financial predicament we’re in and that they could either stay here on a lot less money or that we’d let them go as soon as they found another club or if they simply didn’t want to stay.
“I couldn’t force them to stay because they’ve got families to feed and mortgages to pay.
“Paul Riley has gone back to Matlock and Craig Nelthorpe to Brigg Town, while the other lads have chosen not to stay.
“Others like Mitch Hanson and Chris Shaw have taken a massive cut in wages and stayed on which is a great gesture.
“It’s a struggle at the moment because we’ve got illness in the camp and a few injuries too, so we’re having to scrape together a side for each game.
“If we have to rely on reserve team and youth players then so be it.”
The Badgers overcame near-neighbours Hucknall Town on Wednesday night to secure a spot in the Nottinghamshire Senior Cup semi-finals against Carlton Town.
Markel Bailey’s goal was enough to win the game and Ramshaw is pleased there is still something to play for in Eastwood’s season.
He said: “We’re through and that’s the main thing as at the end of the day it’s all about winning games.
“It keeps the season alive and the most pleasing thing for me was the clean sheet, as that’s the first we’ve had since I’ve been here.
“It was a dour cup tie but you get those from time to time. We had a couple of players full of flu but such is the situation with the squad we had to throw them in.
“It meant a lot to both sides given the seasons we’re having and was always going to be tight.
“Carlton will be a tricky prospect in the next round as once more we’ll be going to a club a couple of divisions below us who have a wage bill twice as big as ours, so you could almost say we’d be the underdogs again.”