JOHN Hughes admits that by the time Easter comes around Hartlepool United will know if they are in with a shout of survival.
The Pools boss accepts that matches are running out on his men, just 10 now remaining before their fate is confirmed.
But Hughes believes the picture will be a whole lot clearer come the end of month, admitting the next four matches are crucial in Pools’ bid to escape relegation from League One.
“This is a big, big month for us,” said the Scot, whose side are seven points from safety.
“This will be the catalyst to see if we’re still in there battling come April.
“What we did last month gave us a chance but that is all, we have to keep going.
“We’ve got some massive games coming up and as long as that’s the case we’ll be doing OK.
“Let’s hope all of the games next month are huge as well because that will mean we’re still in there fighting.
“But these next few are so important, I’ve looked at what we need to do and by the end of the month we’ll be able to reassess.”
Pools entertain Yeovil Town on Saturday before perhaps the most significant match of them all, a trip to fourth-bottom Oldham Athletic next Tuesday.
The Latics are five points ahead of Pools with two games in hand but travel to play-off contenders Tranmere Rovers this weekend.
Beyond that Pools have an away fixture at Coventry City before a home double-header against Walsall and then MK Dons taking them into the Easter weekend.
And Hughes knows that draws, such as Tuesday’s stalemate with Colchester United, will not be enough for his side when it comes to the final reckoning.
“We need wins, not draws,” he said.
“We’re better picking up one win than two draws.
“That being the case we’ve got to go for matches.
“If we’re going to get beaten let’s do it fighting, having a real good go.
“If we win on Saturday then it sets us up well for the next couple.
“But we’ve got to be focused on this weekend and come out looking to get over the disappointment of Tuesday.”