PAUL Gazzard has urged Bashley to put themselves in pole position for a relegation reprieve after accepting the orthodox route to survival was probably beyond his side.

With just nine points to show for their efforts this season, bottom-of-the-table Bash would have to bridge a 19-point chasm in their final 19 games to catch the team perched directly above the drop zone, fourth-bottom St Neots Town.

However, Bash still find themselves within touching distance of fellow drop candidates AFC Totton and Bedford Town with both relegation rivals still to visit Bashley Road.

And with the highest-placed relegated team in the Southern League Premier Division receiving a reprieve in three of the past five seasons, Gazzard has called on his troops to soldier on, starting with tonight’s visit of out-of-sorts Chippenham Town (7.45).

Gazzard told the Daily Echo: “Getting ourselves up to fourth bottom is going to be a big ask now but I am convinced we will not finish bottom.

“With the way we are playing, I believe we will finish above Totton and Bedford which will, hopefully, put us in the best possible position to get a reprieve if there is one going.

“We have some big points to play for over the coming weeks, particularly against Chippenham. They have been in poor form and if we can do the double over them we will put ourselves in a good position to finish top of that little group we are in.

“All we can do is pick up as many points as we can and hope for a reprieve. Hemel had one a couple of seasons ago and haven’t looked back since. We have keep going and hold on to that hope.”

Gazzard hopes to have dual-registered duo Adam Flint and Sam Roberts available for the clash but Declan Edwards remains sidelined.

Bash: (from) Jones, Morris, Bulpitt, Roberts, Ansell, Marden, Strickland, Blackmore, Soetan, Joyce, Odam, Manders, Brookes, Flint, Gazzard, George.

In the Wessex League Premier Division, Hamworthy United host Verwood Town while Bournemouth Poppies face a trip across the Solent to Newport (IOW) (both 7.45).