Stanley defender Nicky Hunt believes tonight’s game with Oxford United is crucial to stop the recent slide down the League Two table.

The Reds are 19th after five successive defeats and sit five points above the relegation places.

The visitors are just one point better off and with just three points separating six teams Hunt knows just how big tonight’s match is.

“Of course it is,” he explained. “Five defeats out of five is nothing to shout about but the lads, especially after Saturday’s game, we felt we have grown a lot stronger since the 5-1 at home to Northampton.

“It’s down to us now. It’s down to the team that the manager picks, it’s down to the squad of 18 players with whoever’s on the bench as well, and the people who aren’t getting in the squad are almost as key as the ones who aren’t playing.

“It’s a massive game for us. No-one’s under any illusions about what a win can get us – it can move us up two, three or four places. We can’t let thoughts of a defeat into our minds because if we do we’ll be fighting a losing battle.”

The 31-year-old returned to the starting eleven for Saturday’s narrow defeat at Plymouth and believes the Reds are very close to returning to winning ways and what they know that they are capable of.

“I could be absolutely anything – it could be a decision that goes our way, getting a penalty, a goal we should never have got. That’s something we’ve been lacking recently, especially in the last four or five weeks. We had it when we first came in, everyone was galvanised.

“I don’t know what it is that we’re missing at the moment because I think we have a lot of good things in this squad, especially with the players we’ve got. We’ve got such a young squad but we have got old heads as well, people who have been around and played the game and know what the game’s all about.

“Whichever group of players there has been at this football club the spirit has had to be kept because there’s only us that can get us out it, there’s only us that can do anything about it.

“As soon as your spirit goes down and it’s all doom and gloom in the training ground you’re fighting a losing battle. But that’s one things that can never be said about us. That spirit has always been there and we’ll keep on fighting.”