JAMES Constable is hoping Oxford United can reproduce the resolve they showed when under pressure earlier in the season as they look to end a barren run tonight.
Just two points have been collected from a possible 18 over the last month, putting the side’s promotion hopes at risk.
They face a buoyant Hartlepool United side at the Kassam Stadium without suspended pair Tom Newey and Michael Raynes, while Johnny Mullins and Dave Kitson are injured.
It reminds Constable of the situation before Christmas, when a makeshift side battled to get a series of results.
The 1-0 victory at Gateshead in an FA Cup first round replay stood out and the striker thinks the side need to show the same sort of spirit tonight.
He said: “We’ve done it before, we went up to Gateshead when we had a lot of injuries and picked up a win.
“I can’t see any reason why we can’t do it again.
“I’m sure before the game in the changing room the lads will be reminding everyone about those games where our backs were against the wall.
“With the suspensions and injuries we’ve got we’ll be in the same situation with kids coming in that haven’t played too much football since the FA Cup run.
“It’s the same case, we need to really dig in, stick together as a group and try to get a result."
Oxford United celebrate their late winner at Gateshead
Constable knows it will be a night when United need to show courage on the ball.
“There’s no other option,” he said.
“It’s not the time to hide and not want the ball.
“It’s important we go out there and play like we did against Gateshead.
“When we were under pressure, no-one hid that night and I’m sure it will be no different on Friday.”
The 29-year-old is aiming to end his five-game wait for a goal this evening.
He remains United’s top scorer this season with 11 goals, although the future is uncertain.
Talks have begun on a new deal to keep Constable at the club beyond this summer, but nothing has been agreed so far.
He said: “As I’ve said many times it’s something I’d like to get sorted out, but the games are coming thick and fast.
“That is taking the main priority.
“The chairman spoke to my dad and we were going to try and get together at some point last week, but for whatever reason it didn’t materialise.
“I’m just getting my head down and focusing on what’s going to be a difficult last nine games.”