Brora Rangers player-manager Steven Mackay accepts that anything less than three points at home to leaders Cove Rangers on Saturday will almost certainly end the Cattachs’ title hopes.
Defending champions Cove are three points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand.
Mackay said: “It’s definitely a must-win game for us. We felt our recent matches at Cove and Formartine were also must-win games but things didn’t go the way we wanted, both ending in 0-0 draws.
“So it goes without saying that we have to win this weekend’s game as if we don’t we’ll concede that the league race will be over.”
Mackay says the Dudgeon Park pitch will be an additional obstacle.
He said: “Our pitch is in a pretty poor state at the moment but it’s the same for both sides.
“Our playing surface has taken a bit of a beating in recent weeks so it’s not in the kind of condition we would like.
“It was quite challenging in the League Cup semi-final against Formartine last Saturday.
“We are expecting a competitive and close encounter against Cove Rangers. We will give it our all and see what happens at the end of the game.
“A draw only favours Cove.
“One point is not enough for us and our players know we must win at all costs.We have to go out with that mindset, get on the front foot and try to get our noses in front.”
Cove manager John Sheran is also up for the challenge.
He said: “When you go into big games like this one there’s pressure on all sides as everybody is desperate to win the game.We’re just looking at it as an opportunity to pick up another three points.
“But against a team like Brora you need to lift your performance and your game.
“Everybody is really looking forward to the game.
“As soon as we finished last weekend’s League Cup semi-final against Wick Academy everyone started speaking about this one.
“There was a real buzz about the place as we always look forward to playing in big games.”
Reflecting on the 0-0 draw between the sides less than a month ago, Sheran added: “Joe Malin, the Brora goalkeeper, played very well that day, and I think we created the better opportunities.
“But all through that game Brora were extremely dangerous when they weregoing forward.
“We have a huge amount of respect for the attacking flair and the quality of the players they’ve got up there at Brora.
“We know that we will have to turn in a big performance this weekend but we will be helped by the fact that for the first time in more than a year we’ll be at full strength.”