Oxford United are calling on supporters to produce one more big push for their must-win final home game of the season on Saturday.
The U’s are still in contention for a place in the play-offs, but a slump in form means they realistically must win their last two games – starting at home to Southend United this weekend – to stand a chance of catching either Crewe or Cheltenham.
United chairman Kelvin Thomas is urging fans to keep the faith and recreate the atmosphere of last month’s derby, when a packed Kassam Stadium inspired Chris Wilder’s side to a 2-0 victory against Swindon Town.
He said: “It’s a huge game, it’s almost like the start of the play-offs for us.
“Unfortunately, we’ve put ourselves in a position where it’s not in our hands, but we have to be confident that Crewe or Cheltenham drop some points and we have to make sure we don’t.
“We had two massive games this season against Swindon, I think it was fantastic the way the players reacted to the intensity and pressure of those.
“That’s what we should try and recreate again on Saturday and I think we will, because the game is that big.”
Thomas believes the team’s recent record in high-pressure situations should provide cause for optimism.
He said: “The club had a bit of a tag when I came in about not performing in big games, but we’ve lost that now.”
The U’s have launched an online campaign aimed at mobilising fans in the build-up to the Southend fixture.
Following on from the success in promoting the charity SpecialEffect with Charlotte Nott for the Rotherham United game last month, the club are hoping the Twitter hashtag #oufcbelieve takes off this week.
Thomas added: “It’s about getting the positive support in the ground, and trying to push the team over the line.
“We did it with Charlotte’s game and it worked extremely well.
“It allows people to share in it, that’s the key with social media, and it all builds up to what is hopefully a good result on Saturday.”
Meanwhile, United’s res-erves visit Colchester United in their penultimate game of the season tonight, with Tony Capaldi, Anthony Tonkin and Simon Heslop expected to figure.