Scott Davies says Oxford United’s players feel the pain of the side’s slump in form just as keenly as their supporters.
A run of one win from nine games has raised the possibility of the U’s ending the season empty handed, just weeks after contending for automatic promotion.
They have been in Sky Bet League Two’s top seven all season, but the position is now precarious – with just goals scored keeping Gary Waddock’s men in the play-off zone.
The tension boiled over on Saturday, when there was a brief confrontation between players and supporters after the 1-0 defeat at Dagenham & Redbridge.
Davies admitted the manner of the result, which came via a freak own goal in the 89th minute, left him feeling as dejected as at any time in his career.
And the midfielder wanted to make it clear the frustration on the terraces was matched within the squad.
He said: “I want everyone to know the lads are absolutely gutted – that’s not for show, that’s genuine.
“You can see the body language and the boys are absolutely devastated. But there are six games to go and 18 points to play for.
“Hopefully we can turn things round.”
He added: “Obviously, the fans are showing their frustration as well.
“You feel for them. We are all in it together and all pulling in the same direction, trying to get into League One.”
Davies is part of the significant group of players whose contracts expire this summer.
All talks have been put on hold until the end of the campaign to allow Waddock, the new head coach, time to assess the squad.
There is plenty at stake for the 26-year-old, who said: “With a new manager coming in, everyone wants to do well.
“We want to be successful, people are playing for contracts and when that goal goes in, it’s an absolute dagger into our heart.”
While the latest setback weakened United’s grasp on the play-offs, Davies thought the players would be able to regroup quickly ahead of Saturday’s home game against Fleetwood Town.
He said: “We’ve got positive people around us and the staff are good.
“They will drag us up from the floor and hopefully get us back on a winning run.
“The last thing we need now is negativity around us – that’s not going to stand us in good stead.
“We need people showing positivity towards it and hopefully we can be successful.”