JULIAN Rhodes today called on the City faithful to focus entirely on the survival fight now that Edin Rahic has gone.

The club hope that Rahic’s exit will unite the mood after the divisive chairman’s 30-month reign was brought to an end by major shareholder Stefan Rupp.

Rhodes has taken on the role of interim chief executive for the rest of the season – and insists all eyes must be on the pitch now.

“We all want the focus on David (Hopkin) and the team,” he said. “We want supporters and sponsors coming back and we want to give them something to be excited about.

“It’s not going to be easy. We’re bottom of the league and away from the safety zone by some distance.

“But if you take out the Checkatrade (Trophy), we’ve lost only one of the last six and the fightback on Saturday was something I don’t believe would have happened a couple of months ago.

“There are some absolutely crucial games in December. But if the players carry on playing with the same commitment, we’ve got a chance.

“We’ve got to get to January in touch. Stefan has committed to providing the finances for any shortfalls, plus to help in whatever way we see fit in the transfer window.

“It’s going to be a lot of wheeling and dealing, presuming we’re still in touch. But we’ve been in tough situations before and we’ve just got to get through it.”

Rupp is currently over for meetings with Rhodes and Hopkin, and has assured them his backing will not involve interfering with their work – an accusation consistently levelled at Rahic.

Rhodes added: “I’ve said to Stefan that you need to trust me, David and everyone to do their jobs. I think he will do.

“He lives in Germany. He won’t be over here that often but he’s always only a phone call away.

“The big thing was that he had to commit to the money that’s needed and he’s done that.

“He might go to the odd game but it would be nice for him to be able to get back to enjoying that and not worry about all the animosity there was towards Edin.

“He wants to get the club back to what it was not that long ago. Even 12 months ago, it was a different-looking club to the one we’re looking at right now.

“That’s the role that everybody’s got.”

The long haul to third-from-bottom Plymouth on Saturday starts a crucial spell, which is followed by three home games on the bounce, including the FA Cup replay with Peterborough. Rhodes feels the crowd’s backing will be vital.

“Supporters have got such a massive part to play. The atmosphere at the Oxford game was brilliant and it certainly helped the players to get the result.

“We need the fans to come and make the same noise from here on in.

“After Plymouth away, we’ve got three very important home games coming up that could define the season.

“When there’s bad feeling about, you have to turn that into a better atmosphere because it helps the team. That’s what we’re trying to do.”