PREVIEW: Fleetwood Town vs Bristol Rovers
DEFENDER Lee Brown is fully aware that there is a risk of relegation-threatened Bristol Rovers getting cut adrift if they fail to achieve a respectable amount of points from their remaining fixtures in January.
Bottom-of-the-table Rovers continue their survival bid with a difficult assignment at high-flying Fleetwood this weekend before further stern tests against Exeter City and Rotherham before the end of the month.
John Ward's side then begin February with what could be a crucial clash in the context of the relegation battle when Barnet arrive at the Memorial Stadium and Brown, pictured, admitted: "It is a crucial time for us.
"We have some tough fixtures coming up this month while a lot of the teams around us are all playing each other. That means we have to pick up some points before the end of January or there is a chance that we could get cut adrift.
This week's delicious £5 5 O'CLOCKTAIL is a refreshing Tequila Sunrise. Available everyday from our Bar for only £5 between 5pm & 7pm.
Terms: £5 cocktail applies to the cocktail of the week.
Contact: 0117 2448281
Valid until: Monday, May 27 2013
"We've all got that in our sights because it is dead serious for us now. It is not very nice looking at the league every Sunday morning and seeing yourself bottom of it.
"We're focusing on the job and we have to stay positive, but we are not wandering around oblivious to the seriousness of the situation.
"I don't want to have to put the word relegation on my CV and I don't want to see Bristol Rovers go out of the Football League."
Rovers, meanwhile, are further hampered in their hopes of claiming what would be an unexpected victory at Highbury by the continued unavailability of senior striker David Clarkson.
Garry Kenneth was also ruled out for the remainder of this season earlier this week after suffering a serious knee injury in the 2-0 defeat at the hands of Gillingham and Brown said: "It has been a tough season with injury for us.
"Losing Matt Harrold so early on was a massive blow and then we've also since lost Matt Gill, Garry Kenneth and Adam Virgo.
"They are big players for us, so when you lose them from the core of the team it is always going to have a knock-on effect.
"We've all just got to put in that extra bit to make-up for it, because these things have happened now and we can't dwell on them."
Ward will at least be able to recall the services of experienced veteran Jim Paterson after he missed the last two games because of a hamstring injury.
That leaves the manager with a decision to make after choosing the former QPR man to fill the position in Paterson's absence – although Brown also has the capacity to play further forward in a midfield role.
It was a position Brown was used in by former boss Mark McGhee at the end of last season and the defender added: "I scored a few from left-midfield last season because the manager at that time always felt that I had a goal or two in me.
"I definitely prefer playing at left-back. I've always said that if I get a run of games in that position I feel that I can do really well. I'm starting to get that, but Jim Paterson is back and it is between me and him now. I hope I get the chance to continue, but that is the manager's decision at the end of day.
"Things have been going fine for me personally since the Aldershot game on Boxing Day. I've played every game under John Ward so far and long may that continue.
"It makes a massive difference for a player when you are involved in games instead of sitting on the bench. You get a bit of consistency back when you are playing regularly and it helps you manage yourself in such a different way."