St Ives Town go into a new decade determined to dodge the drop.

The leading local club are fighting to avoid relegation from the Southern League Premier Division Central.

Only goal difference keeps Ricky Marheineke's men out of the bottom three ahead of a New Year's Day showdown against AFC Rushden & Diamonds at Westwood Road, 3pm.

"We know what we have to do and there is a real determination and togetherness in the squad," said Marheineke, whose side then go to table-topping Tamworth this Saturday.

"We're well aware we need to pick up a lot more results in the second half of the season than we have done in the first half.

"We've got 16 points on the board and we've got to get to 45 to give ourselves a real chance of staying up.

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"There is plenty of optimism around the club, but there is also a lot of realism about the situation we're in and what is required to get out of it.

"But I always back myself, my management team and my players to come through."

Marheineke hailed a magnificent performance from number one Finley Iron as St Ives signed off 2019 with a precious point.

The young goalkeeper produced a catalogue of super saves during a 1-1 draw at Needham Market on Boxing Day . . . and even laid on their late leveller for Ben Seymour-Shove.

"It was a very good point for us," added Marheineke. "In fact it was a draw which felt like a win after behind for so long and scoring so late.

"Our goalkeeper kept us in the game - almost single-handedly - at times in the second half with some unbelievable saves."

Saints' clash against AFC Rushden & Diamonds brings back wonderful memories of their Southern League Division One Central play-offs final success against the same opponents back in 2016.