St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke insists his side cannot afford to slip up in either of their next two games.

Ben Seymour-Shove on the ball for St Ives Town in their 2-0 loss at Southern League Premier Division leaders Leamington. Picture: LOUISE THOMPSONBen Seymour-Shove on the ball for St Ives Town in their 2-0 loss at Southern League Premier Division leaders Leamington. Picture: LOUISE THOMPSON

Saints entertain Kings Langley in a Southern League Premier Division clash at ProEdge Westwood Road this Saturday, 3pm, before going to Stratford on Tuesday, 7.45pm.

Both of those sides sit below, but within reach of, 13th-placed Saints in the bottom half of the standings and Marheineke is anxious not to suffer defeats against such teams.

He said: “They’re certainly not must-win games by any means, but they are the sort of matches we definitely don’t want to lose.

“We managed to climb the table by picking up good results against teams around us and that needs to continue.

“Our focus has not, and will not, shift from the 48-point target we set ourselves at the start of the season to achieve survival.

“We’re still 11 points off it and the quickest way to gain those points is through picking up four wins.

“The next two games give us realistic opportunities to get a couple of those.”

Marheineke was upbeat in defeat last Saturday after seeing his side beaten 2-0 at table-toppers Leamington.

Saints were undone by two goals in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, but gave a pleasing account of themselves.

Morgan Penfold was denied by a smart save and Jared Cunniff, playing in an unfamiliar attacking position, fired just wide during a blank first half.

Saints’ best chance of the second period fell to substitute Scott Sinclair, who was denied in a one-on-one situation.

“The fact we were disappointed to lose to the league leaders shows how far we’ve come,” said Marheineke.

“A few weeks ago, we would probably have found ourselves on the receiving end of a heavy defeat in this sort of game - just like when Leamington beat us 5-0 at our place.

“But I was very pleased with many parts of our performance and had we got a goal back, you don’t know what might have happened.”

St Ives received an early blow at Leamington when midfielder Tom McGowan was forced off with an ankle injury.

He is likely to be sidelined for around a month with suspected ligament damage.

There was better injury news as striker Danny Kelly returned from a groin problem as a second-half substitute at Leamington.

Fellow frontman Dubi Ogbonna was banned last Saturday and completes a two-game suspension against Kings Langley.