Stuart McCall admits City’s season will drift into nothingness unless they show a dramatic improvement in results.

Saturday’s trek to Torquay promises to be a critical clash for both the under-pressure team and manager.

With just one point from the last five games, some fans are worried that City could be dragged into a survival battle at the bottom and would settle now for a mid-table finish.

At the top end, the gap to the last play-off spot has grown to ten points. And while McCall has still not dismissed their dream of a top-seven finish, it would need a major change of fortunes to even go close.

McCall said: “I remember my first season going into the last couple of months with nothing really to play for. It was so frustrating and aggravating.

“You always want to be involved in stuff and have meaningful games or the season just drifts away.

“That will only not happen if we win some games and win them quickly.

“It goes without saying that we’ve got to start winning again if we don’t want the season to peter out.

“That’s why I made the comment last week about winning three of the next four games.

“Win four or five of the next seven and I would imagine the gap would be down to five points. But it’s no good just saying it.

“A victory on Saturday wouldn’t necessarily mean we will go on to get three or four wins on the bounce but we need to start somewhere.

“We were saying that when we went to Cheltenham early on after our difficult start to the season. We got a result there and then went on a good run.”

McCall has already warned the players that he won’t include anyone who can’t hack City’s current predicament.

But he believes the mood on the training ground shows they are ready for the fight.

He added: “I wouldn’t expect them to be smiling, chatty and happy but the lads are determined to put it right.

“The Torquay game is not about the manner of getting the right result; just the result itself.

“We want to be coming off the pitch after 94-95 minutes with the three points, regardless of how we’ve got them. Having only one shot at goal won’t matter as long as we’ve got that win.”

James Hanson is still out because of the torn muscle in his back which has forced him to miss the last two games.

Peter Thorne made his comeback for the reserves last night but is unlikely to be considered ready for the squad.