WITHAM Town manager Mark Ashford wants his players to understand the pressing need to make their Bostik League division north position safe sooner rather than later.

A goal with almost the last kick of the game saw Witham go down to a 1-0 defeat by Canvey Island last weekend as their winless run was extended to six games.

They now travel to rock-bottom Romford on Saturday looking to end that run but also aiming to make sure the threat of relegation does not loom over them in the closing games of the season.

Witham are still seven points above the drop zone with five games to go, but Ashford wants his players to recognise the need to ensure their safety right now.

He said: "It's not difficult to keep the players' heads up and the reality is that they may not take it seriously enough.

"I don't mean that they aren't preparing properly because they certainly are, but they need to treat every game now as if it were the last game of the season and a win is the only result that will do.

"I think that because there is a buffer of points there and there are still a number of games left then they may not see the need to make sure we're safe as soon as possible.

"I'm very aware of psychology in sport and I want to get the players to understand that they must treat each game as though it was the last game of the season.

"They have to scrap and grind it out for every inch of the pitch and understand the importance of doing it right now rather than leaving it until the last game when Mildenhall or Romford may have closed the gap on us.

"I don't want to be negative because we have come such a long way this season but they need to understand the seriousness of where we are. "I want a cup final mentality; to treat each game like it is the be-all and end-all, but without having the fear.

"We have been turning up and doing the best we can but without producing the special performances like we did when we beat Maldon & Tiptree and Dunstable and Coggeshall in the Trophy. "We found the extra ten per cent in those games and that is what we need now.

"This is the time to find that extra.

"Don't worry about the situation because we are in complete control; it's a question of not looking at the big picture too much and concentrating on doing the basics well with the energy that that extra ten per cent will bring.

"I have always said that when this team plays to its potential then we are more than good enough to compete with any team in this league and the results have shown that.

"The players have to look forward to the big games and they should embrace it."