Kempsey Saints will enter Saturday's Football Mid North Coast first grade match against the Camden Haven Redbacks on home soil searching for their first back-to-back win since round three of the competition.
Saints coach Matthew Baker believes the key to his side climbing the table and booking their spot in the finals will be to improve their defence.
“Everything starts with the defence, if you can stop the opposition from scoring goals then you are going to win games,” Baker said.
“We have conceded soft goals this season but if we can lock things up at the back we will be able to push our way into the finals.”
Saints have been on the wrong end of three matches this season decided by a single goal.
Baker believes confidence within the team is vital in turning around the narrow margins.
“I am coaching a group of young men who are as good as any squad in the comp,” he said.
“We are strong across the park with no weak links, I just need the side to believe in themselves.”
Baker will be taking every match for the rest of the season as a “must-win”.
“We can’t afford to drop another game, especially not at home,” Baker said.
“I don’t want to be relying on other sides to lose. If we win then our fate will be in our own hands.”
Saints defeated Camden Haven 3-2 on the road in their meeting earlier this season.
The Redbacks are still searching for their first victory of the season and are in eight place on the ladder.
“We need to turn up and improve on our last performance,” Baker said.
“They (Redbacks) have improved a lot since we last played against them and they held Port Saints to a draw in their last start.”
A win on Saturday for the sixth placed Saints could move them into a finals position on the ladder while also narrowing the gap between the third and fourth placed sides Port United and Wallis Lakes.
Saints’ reserve grade team is leading the competition but suffered their first loss of the season in their last start.
They have a good opportunity to bounce back to winning ways when they face the bottom of the table Redbacks on Saturday.
“They didn’t have their usual efforts in their last game,” Baker said.
“They need to get up for this one to avoid back-to-back defeats.”
Baker has taken the reigns of the reserve grade side from Kevin Sinclair who is holidaying overseas until the final round of the season.
The action kicks off at Eden Street Oval at 1.15pm followed by first grade at 3pm.