It’s now or never in play-off race

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ARBROATH manager Paul Sheerin says if his players don’t find consistency quickly their play-off hopes will be over.

The Lichties have experienced a mixed bag of late with a positive away win to Alloa Athletic followed by two disappointing home defeats, one against the Wasps and another on Saturday against Ayr United.

With just nine games remaining in Division Two, the fight for fourth place is well and truly hotting up with around five teams all in contention.

And after Saturday’s loss to Ayr, which featured several controversial decisions going against the Lichties the boss says the players know what they need to do.

He told HeraldSport: “The bottom line about Saturday is whatever manner you look at it we still lost 4-1.

“It wasn’t a true reflection of the game but we have to take it now and look at the positives as I thought we did well for the first 40 minutes.

“But we have to move on and now is the time we have to start getting consistency because if we don’t, we won’t be in the play-offs.

“We have set ourselves targets and it is now up to us to reach them.

“We can probably look at the league and say the top three will finish up there.

“So the battle is going to be between us, Forfar, Stenhousemuir and possibly even Ayr United and East Fife.

“But we have to start picking up points and hopefully that will start tomorrow.”

The Lichties make the trip to East Fife tomorrow (Saturday), a ground they lost 2-1 at in November.

The Fifers have had consistency problems of their own of late, but Mr Sheerin is quietly confident.

He added: “It will be hard and they have been going through a tough patch of their own.

“Our home form has slipped in recent weeks so we need to start getting points.

“It is a big pitch there and it is a nice place to play football so I will be looking for a response from the players.”

The boss will be without Steven Doris, who is still injured as well as the suspended Brian Kerr and Scott Robertson.

And with suspensions starting to kick in, the boss says it is possible he will use the loan system.

He explained: “Steven will be out tomorrow but should be back for the Queen of the South match so long as he rests up and looks after himself properly.

“Brian Kerr will be missing and Scott Robertson has gone over the yellow card threshold so they will be missing.

“But that is something that happens this time of the season and we will have to deal with that.

“It is slightly worrying because the squad is so thin but I will only bring people in if I think they will add something.”