Utility man Mark Surgenor insists nothing other than three points will be sufficient for Carrick Rangers when they entertain Ards on Boxing Day at the Loughshore Hotel Arena.
Rangers are still suffering a hangover from last week’s thumping defeat by Cliftonville at the same venue.
Although Aaron Callaghan’s boys are still 10 points above ailing basement club Portadown, Surgenor believes it’s time his boys stepped up to the plate.
“Since Aaron has come in, he has set new standards, but those standards dropped for the first time last week,” said Surgenor. “He goes into great detail about our opponents.
“It’s now time to regroup. We have to win against Ards. They are one team that we feel can be pulled down into the relegation battle.
“Let’s face facts. It will be a battle between ourselves, Ballinamallard, and Portadown for the remainder of the campaign, but I feel Ards can be pulled into that group.
“Yes, they will be coming with a new man in charge after the appointment of Colin Nixon, but we have a job to do. That’s why it makes this game so important.”
Surgenor insist the players are now playing for their futures at the club, adding: “Our ultimate ambition is to stay in this league. The reality is, if Carrick are relegated it could take years of rebuilding to get back again, the repercussions could be horrific.
“We’ve seen it happen to other established Irish League clubs, so everyone is playing for a new contract.”