Scunthorpe Rugby Union Club coach sees relegation battle going down to the wire
TIM Robinson believes the battle to survive in National Three Midlands will go down to the final day of the season.
And the confident Scunthorpe RUFC coach thinks victory in four of their remaining nine games will be enough to ensure the Greens stay out of the bottom three.
Currently six points shy of safety, the Greens know not even a victory in Saturday's game against second-placed Sutton Coldfield will lift them out of the relegation zone.
And Robinson says as many as seven sides could become embroiled in the fight to avoid joining Mansfield and Derby, who have been in the bottom three all season, in being relegated in what he predicts will be an 'exciting' finale.
"At the moment there's probably seven or eight sides looking to finish above that third spot for relegation," he told the Telegraph.
"Newport, with the number of games they've got left, are pretty much guaranteed to be safe, but I think everyone from Hinckley down is vulnerable.
"A lot of the sides in and around us have played the top sides, like Ampthill, Sutton Coldfield and South Leicester at home, but have still got to play them away.
"They're going to have to do what we did at the start of the season, where you go to somewhere like Ampthill and really it's damage limitation.
"The following week, you're playing one of the sides in and around you to try to beat at home and that mixture of a lack of confidence and trying to turn things around in a week is quite tough, that's what we found during the first half of the season.
"I think it will go the distance, probably pretty much to the final game of the season.
"It has done pretty much for the past three or four seasons."
Scunthorpe's closing two games of the campaign are against the current bottom two.
Robinson though, hopes the Greens, who saw their match at Newport last weekend cancelled because of snow in Shropshire, can already be in a strong position by the time those matches come around.
"To stay up this season I think you're looking at probably between eight and 10 victories," he predicted.
"We've got to get to that and unfortunately we play Derby and Mansfield as our last two games of the season – and that's not a guaranteed result either, though that's where most sides are looking at to ensure they do get victories.
"Even that would only take us to eight wins, so we've still got to pick up two elsewhere as well.
"A lot of it you've got to focus and target every game to try to get the points.
"It's building to be a bit of a crunch game against Syston on February 16, though the end of the season is still too far away to say if we won, that we'd be safe, or that we'd be relegated if we lost."