Salford City host Leyton Orient on Saturday in Sky Bet League Two still with an opportunity of reaching the play-offs (KO 15:00).
To make it happen three points are a must, combined with Forest Green Rovers (Oldham Athletic, A) and Exeter City (Barrow, H) both dropping points.
It’s by no means ideal, but while there’s a chance on the final day anything could happen in this three-way battle.
April was a very prosperous month for Salford as the gap to the play-offs was closed down, and Gary Bowyer and Ian Henderson deservedly picked up the League Two Monthly awards. If the defeat at Colchester was just a blip, then Saturday afternoon is the time to prove it and see what happens.
The Ammies have been excellent at home all season; losing just once in the league, registering amongst the top scorers and conceding the fewest goals.
Goalkeeper Václav Hladký has been a significant contributor to that and is neck-and-neck with Cheltenham Town’s Joshua Griffiths for the Golden Glove award going into the final round. In addition the 30-year-old was named in the Football Manager League Two Team of the Season in his first campaign in English football, an achievement that the Czech is proud of.
“It is [an achievement] to be fair, I’m so proud not just for me but for all the team because it’s a huge credit for everybody not just for me.
“Obviously you have to bring some quality, that’s no doubt, but the quality was all over the pitch and it’s not just about the clean sheets, it’s about the number of conceded goals which is brilliant as well so credit to all of the team.
“I’m really enjoying the number of games, to be on the pitch every three days is brilliant and I enjoy it so much. The season has been really tough with the circumstances, without crowds, with all these restrictions, but other than that I have to say I’m really enjoying the work, with Carlo Nash as well, and obviously every game that I’ve played.
“As I said it’s been a really difficult season, with three managers, but to be fair I’m glad to be fighting for the play-offs until the last game because it’s something that we want so we’re pleased for that. Is it a success? Well I would rather be in third and promoted direct! At the end of the day it’s not in our hands, but we’re pleased to be able to fight for it.”
You can watch the full interview with Vac on Matchday LIVE from 14:30 BST on YouTube, Facebook or Twitter.
Salford have no fresh injury concerns, but the game comes too early for Bruno Andrade, Darron Gibson and James Wilson. After their red cards last weekend Di’Shon Bernard and Ash Hunter join Richie Towell on the suspended list.
Up until a couple of weeks ago the East London side were still in with their own chance of reaching the play-offs but three defeats in a row have brought their aspirations to a close, and defeat against Carlisle United last time out means that their current berth of 11th is the highest they can finish.
However Interim Manager Jobi McAnuff is adamant that The O’s won’t just be turning up to play the last day and that they want to show what they are capable of after a ‘disappointing’ result last weekend.
Both goalscorers for Orient are in good form with Conor Wilkinson scoring his fifth in 10 outings before Dan Kemp scored his third in four so the threats are there for Salford to be wary of.
In four previous meetings between the clubs the record is tied at a win a-piece and two draws, both of which have come at The Peninsula Stadium. On both occasions Salford have taken the lead, and twice an own goal in the last five minutes has earned the visitors a point. Earlier this season a solitary strike from Danny Johnson saw Orient win 1-0 at the Breyer Group Stadium.
HOW TO WATCH
Saturday’s clash is available for online viewing at live.salfordcityfc.co.uk, costing £10 in the UK or £7 abroad if you aren’t a 2020-21 season ticket holder.