PETER JACKSON was today assessing Town's tactics for the Boxing Day clash with Port Vale and admitted: "It's a must-win game for us."
The Galpharm chief, who welcomed Steve Yates back to full training yesterday, knows his team can't afford many more slip-ups on home soil.
The derby defeat to Bradford was Town's fifth of the League I campaign in front of their own supporters - a statistic which does not bode well for play-off chances. Last season at this level, only one team in the top 12 lost five home matches. That was Hartlepool who, as a crumb of comfort for Jackson and his squad, at least made the play-offs.
"We can't really afford to be losing at home and Sunday is a must-win game for us," said Jackson, who reports keeper Paul Rachubka missed training yesterday with the same virus which affected David Mirfin.
"Our home form is why we're sitting 13th in the table.
"If we'd been decent here at the stadium we'd be sitting in the top six.
"To lose to Bradford was bitterly disappointing for all of us and particularly after that poor first-half showing.
"In the second half we looked like the only team who were going to score and should have done, which was at least a positive, and we have to take that forward into Sunday.
"We played extremely well against Port Vale away from home when Pawel Abbott got his hat trick, and I'm giving a lot of thought to how we will go about this home game."
Jackson, who has hinted he may opt for a 4-4-2 formation, added:
"I have reflected a lot on the derby game and watched the tape a few times. All I'm going to say is that some decisions have to be made."