Tony Russell has called on Lewes fans to once again bring the noise to the Dripping Pan as the boss looks ahead to the business end to the season.
Lewes sit third in the Isthmian Premier League heading into Saturday’s 3pm home clash with Merstham.
A run of four wins from the last five league games has aided the Rooks’ chase of leaders Worthing, with 18 games of the season now remaining.
More than 1,400 fans roared on Lewes in the New Year’s Day victory over Bognor Regis.
And Russell is hoping another rowdy crowd can get his troops over the line when 16th-placed Merstham rock up at the Pan.
“I know the club are putting on some deals for the fans to come in and we need big numbers,” says the boss.
“We’re all about small percentages in our side. We work on scouting, video analysis, everything. We want those percentage gains over our opponents and against Bognor Regis we had 1,400 fans in the ground.
“That can give us an extra couple of percent – and we need that.
“So rally your friends and lets get as many as we can down to the Dripping Pan for the remainder of our home games. We need the support, we need you to be vocal and loud, to give us the opportunity to do something that is special.
“We can do it but we need your help.”
Lewes beat Merstham 3-1 at Moatside back in September, with two goals from Ollie Tanner either side of a Kyron Richards strike earning the Rooks victory.
Merstham head into Saturday’s clash having ended a four-game losing streak with a 3-1 win over Wingate & Finchley.
And Russell is wary of the threat the visitors will bring.
“They’re dangerous, very dangerous,” says the boss.
“They’ve a brilliant front three, their centre-forward has been at Bromley, their right winger’s from AFC Wimbledon and their left winger is probably the quickest player in our league.
“If anyone thinks this is going to be an easy game… we need to address that. Our record against the top sides is very good but when you look at our next three games – Merstham, Brightlingsea and Cray – they’re dangerous. All thee games are tough because we haven’t done well so far this season against the sides down the other end of the table.
“It’s something we need to address. We feel we’ve moved on from them as a side – anyone who has watched us over the last four or five games, you can see that we’ve gone up a level in terms of our understanding of what we’re trying to do.”
Last 18 games crucial
Victory for Lewes could edge the side into second place, with Folkestone playing Wrexham in the FA Trophy and Enfield – also on 43 points but with an inferior goal difference – away at Haringey.
And with 18 games remaining of the season, Russell is fully focused on that top spot.
“I think we are in an exciting period but we have to be on it for the next game,” he adds.
“They’re going to be dangerous. We spoke about it in training and the boys understand that – we’ve got to push.
“We’ve done OK but we need to be honest and admit we’re still behind where we need to be, in terms of the points total, so we’ve got to get our heads down and push.
“There are eight games before we’re into the last 10 games of the season – and that’s the target. We spoke about it at the start of the season: get to 10 games left with a chance of getting promoted.
“So we’ve got eight games to do that now, and it’s a massive push.”
Lewes vs Merstham tickets
Lewes FC tickets for the game, which kicks off at 3pm on Saturday, are available to buy online (at a discount) or on the gate.
Ticket prices on the gate are as follows:
Adults – £12 general admittance
Concessions – £8 general admittance
Kids (under 16) – free!
Beach hut for six people – £99