Biggest game of season on Saturday for Scunthorpe Rugby Union Club against Syston
IT IS their biggest game of the season, bar none.
But while determined not to play down Scunthorpe RUFC's crunch clash at Syston on Saturday, coach Tim Robinson insists the match is not make or break in terms of the club's survival ambitions.
Currently seven points shy of safety in National Three Midlands, the Greens travel to Leicestershire to take on the side directly above them in the table.
A victory could bring Syston within touching distance ahead of a run-in which, on paper, would seem to favour Scunthorpe.
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Defeat though would undoubtedly deliver a psychological blow and add extra pressure during the remaining couple of months.
"It's already been classed by the lads as the big one," said Robinson, who described the Greens' 39-3 loss at in-form Newport last weekend as a 'tough day at the office'.
"But it's not the be all and end all, because obviously we've still got six league games after it.
"Obviously it is going to be a crucial game. Psychologically it would give us a lift if we got some points at their place and got the result.
"It certainly closes the gap on what they've accumulated up to now and with the games both teams have got to finish the season, we would be in the better position I would say.
"It's the understatement of the year, but it's the biggest cup final we'll have this season."
Given their current safety margin, Syston probably have as much to lose in Saturday's game as Scunthorpe do to gain.
But there is unlikely to be a temptation for the hosts to slow the game down and use spoiling tactics, according to Robinson.
As Syston face the top four in their final six games of the campaign, the Greens coach believes they will need to target all five points against his side.
Such is the magnitude of the weekend's match, Robinson is expecting an attritional contest akin to that in the Six Nations on Sunday, when England out-kicked Ireland in a bruising battle in Dublin.
"I think they're going to have to come out and play," said the former full-back.
"As the home side they're going to have more possession than us because that's generally how it works out.
"They're seven points clear of us at the moment, but looking at their run-in, after Saturday, it's going to be difficult for them to pick up points.
"Other than Ampthill, all the other sides we play are in and around us, so there is a likelihood we will pick up certain points.
"They've got to play to ensure they get that 11/12 points ahead of us to make it a competitive finish to the season.
"I still think we could get 10-12 points from the games we've got coming up. With players coming back from injury, hopefully we'll get a few more.
"I suspect it will probably be very similar to England's game on Sunday.
"It will be very physical and a very aggressive game. It will probably be error-strewn because the teams are under pressure."
Team selection is also something to give the Greens a spring in their step.
With the Newport game a rearranged fixture, several of Scunthorpe's regular first XV were unavailable due to work commitments.
Captain Tom Foster and locks Si Weller and Matt Power will all return while Hull loanee Will Robinson is also expected to be in contention for a place in the threequarters or the half-back positions as he recovers from a ruptured bicep.