Widnes manager Michael Ellison is looking to take positives from their defeat to Leek Town as they look to boost their survival hopes against Ramsbottom United.
They face the Rams who sit at the foot of the Northern Premier League West as they sit level on points with Hanley Town who sit outside the bottom four.
Widnes have enjoyed a resurgence in recent weeks and can take a greater stride to secure their status in the league with the season tipping towards a close.
Oliver Harrison and Daniel Trickett-Smith were on the scoresheet for Leek Town in their win over the Whites. But Ellison took positives from the performance.
“We’re disappointed to lose but we’re really pleased with the performance, we had a gameplan going into it and it almost worked,” he told Off The Park.
“We denied them, I don’t think Cam has had any saves to make in open play neither has their ‘keeper to be fair, there wasn’t many chances in the game. We set out to deny the same, nullify them and we did that then we concede off two set-pieces which was the difference in the game and was disappointing because the first one is an own goal.
“Then we’ve created the best chance through Will Jones and their defender has got a last-ditch block in, if he takes it first-time he scores.
“We were chasing the game, pushed them back then a little mistake lead to the corner and they’ve punished us. It’s disappointed, we would’ve took a point before the game, it’d be nice to get all three, they’re a very good side – as good as you’ll see in this division and the division above.”
He added: “There’s a lot of positives and it’s tough explaining that to the lads, I’m honest in my assessment and if there’s criticism I’ll give them it but it was hard because they were down but I said it shows how far we’ve come, you’re disappointed not to get something out of the game.
“They knew they’d been in a game, we know where to improve and we could’ve fashioned a few more opportunities but we were unable to do that, that’s been something we’ve struggled with for large parts.
“We go back to the Glossop game, since then we’ve played well and could’ve won every one – in that space we’ve played Leek, Clitheroe and Trafford. We’re in every game, competitive, it’s one of those ones where you take positives and learn from it.”
There is a 13-point gap between the Rams and the Vikings going into Saturday’s encounter. Ramsbottom are under new stewardship after David Chadwick replaced Lee Donafee.
“With the situation we’re in, we have to get points on the board and we know that – that’s probably why lads are disappointed – we’re going into Saturday’s game confident.
“I watched Ramsbottom on Saturday, they play different football under Chaddy, they’re a good side, they were leading 1-0 when I left and they end up losing the game 2-1 so they were well in the game, they’re a good side. We’ve got to go there, play our game and look to get the three points, it’s a massive game there’s no getting away from that.
“It’s a game we want to win, we’ve got six points and 18 points, it’s not a must-win because if we lost one and won our last five we’d stay up. It’s massive because it’s the next game, Ramsbottom are bottom, it’s going to be difficult for them to climb out of it, they’ve got young players, there’s not the pressure that was there a couple of weeks ago.
“There’s a new side, a new ethos and they’re due a win, we’ve got to make sure that the first win doesn’t come against us. The lads know how important it is, there’s no getting away from that, it’s a little bit to when we played Hanley because they were a place below us. We’ve got that 13-point gap but it’s a game we need to win, we need points on the board and we’ll be doing everything we can.”