St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke hopes the return of Jared Cunniff can put the club’s play-off challenge back on track tomorrow.

Midfielder Cunniff has been welcomed back into the Saints squad ahead of a crucial Southern League Division One (Central) trip to Aylesbury, 3pm.

He was recently axed by Marheineke after failing to arrive for two games, but has now been given another chance to shine.

Marheineke said: “Jared has apologised to myself and the lads for the way he has conducted himself lately.

“He has realised in a couple of weeks away from the club how much he wants to be part of it.

“He has been welcomed back into the group and we stand a much better chance of making the play-offs with him than without him.

“No coincidence we've lacked creativity in the time without him and hopefully his return will address that.”

Cunniff returns to a Saints side which has suffered back-to-back defeats in recent days.

They lost 1-0 to strugglers Aylesbury United last Saturday before going down 2-0 at leaders AFC Rushden & Diamonds on Tuesday night.

And Marheineke is quick to admit they can't afford to be on the receiving end of another reverse tomorrow.

Marheineke added: “The manner of the defeats has been disappointing. It is something we have spoken about at length and worked hard on the training pitch to put right.

“We've been missing a spark in recent games and we need to find it again to start picking up points.

“The trip to Aylesbury is a must not lose game. They are a threat to us in the chase for play-off places.

“I've got to pick the right formation with the right personnel, and those players then have to perform.”