Keith McMahon believes the pressure will be off Whitstable at promotion-chasing Cray Valley this weekend.
The Oystermen, who slipped back to third-bottom in Isthmian South East as they lost 2-0 to Sittingbourne last weekend, will aim to end a three-match losing run when they face the third-placed side who beat Sevenoaks 3-0 on Tuesday.
Cray Valley will be big favourites but Whitstable boss McMahon insisted: “If we perform well - against anyone at this level - then we have got a chance.
“But there’s not as much pressure on us on Saturday.
“Any positive result would be a bonus but, maybe, a little bit of the pressure being off will help us.”
A big few matches lie in store for Whitstable this month who play bottom side Phoenix in a massive match next weekend before also taking on Three Bridges, who are only five points above them, before the end of February.
McMahon commented: “We have got Cray Valley and Ashford but we have got the teams around us this month as well.
“People who thought we would win every week are a bit deluded - I certainly knew that wouldn’t be the case!
"We have slipped back into the bottom three but we are not far away from 12th.
“If we show fight and determination, I’m positive we can still get the right results that we need.”
Striker Alpha Diallo has signed for the Oystermen on loan from National League South Dulwich Hamlet and started in their defeat to Kent rivals Sittingbourne.
McMahon said: “He did okay on Saturday and in training on Thursday but it’s difficult for a young lad to come to a side that is fighting for their lives.
“It’s a little bit different to what he is used to but I spoke to Gavin (Rose, the Dulwich manager) about that and, hopefully, he can help us going forward.”
Influential defender Junior Baker (ankle), 38, is likely to still be absent when the Oystermen face Kevin Watson’s Cray Valley, with McMahon hoping he will be back for their clash at Phoenix.
“We are massively missing Junior - for his talking and his enthusiasm, which is a little bit infectious,” conceded McMahon, who welcomed back Jack Miles and said fellow defender Ollie Gray is set to return soon after a spell on the sidelines.
Second-half strikes from Toby Bancroft and Kane Rowland earned Sittingbourne the win against Whitstable in front of 703 fans at the Belmont.
McMahon reflected: “I was a little bit disappointed.
“I don’t think there was too much in the game, but I thought we lacked a little bit of desire to go on and win.”
The match also saw funds raised for the Teenage Cancer Trust in support of youth player Miles Stockwell, who is undergoing chemotherapy after being diagnosed with aggressive bone cancer.
McMahon enthused: “That was unbelievable what the club did for Miles.
“His parents were there. Sittingbourne were excellent as well, to be fair.
“It just shows the togetherness at the club and why I want to fight for it.
“It also shows how highly-thought Miles is by everyone at the club.”