York City have 12 ‘cup finals’ to rescue their Football League status, starting today when the bottom two teams meet at Dagenham & Redbridge.
The Minstermen are five points better off than the Daggers, but the pair are in danger of being left stranded at the foot of the table.
Hartlepool United are third-from-bottom on 28 points – York have 26 – but the north-east club have three games in hand.
Yeovil Town are fourth from bottom on 32, meaning a win today for Jackie McNamara’s side – after four successive defeats – is imperative.
“It’s a massive game and like the FA Cup final for both teams, but we will go there with a belief we can win,” said York’s captain Russell Penn.
“I’m expecting an ugly game and, if it’s a pretty match, I will be absolutely flabbergasted.
“We’ve got to roll our sleeves up and give something back, because this club is too big and crucial to go down and means a lot to me. My family is up here and I want to do everything, along with the lads, to prove everybody wrong.
“We’ve been down near the bottom for a long time and I hope it is now hitting home to some people in the changing room because we are playing for livelihoods like mine, the staff and the youth team. We said the same last season and we got out of it.
“Now, we’ve got 12 cup finals left and we’ve set ourselves a points target. I don’t want to say what it is and, while I don’t think we’ll need 50 this season, we know what we need to do to stay up and I will take finishing 22nd on goal difference if we have to.
“It’s got to start now, though, because the number of games left is dwindling and clubs like Hartlepool have games in hand.”
Last six: Dagenham LLLLLD, York WWLLLL.
Referee: G Salisbury (Lancashire).
Last time: Dagenham 2 York 0; September 27, 2014; League Two.