SHAKERS manager Alan Knill has told his players to grasp the opportunity of promotion with both hands.

Despite failing to win in five matches, the Shakers have a glorious chance of automatic promotion and Knill wants no regrets come the end of the season.

“We are in a mini-league of 10 games now and we have to get as many points as possible to make sure we finish in the top three," he said.

“Our recent results have not been what we would like, but our position certainly isn’t as bad as some people are making out.

“I would have taken where we are at the start of the season and we just need a bit of luck to turn things around. We have hit the post a couple of times and it is just not falling for us at the moment — but it will come.”

Knill has been pleased with the reaction of his players in training this week, pointing out that they have been boosted by the return of inspirational skipper Stephen Dawson.

Dawson missed last weekend’s 2-0 defeat at Macclesfield because of a family bereavement but is back for Saturday’s tip to Rotherham.

“It’s great to have Stephen back,” Knill said. “We missed him against Macclesfield because he is a big player for us — that is why he is our captain.

“When he is out of the team we are obviously lacking something and it’s great that he is back.

“The players have been good in training this week, there is nobody feeling sorry for themselves.

“There is pressure because of what we are trying to achieve but one final push will get us to where we want to be.

“Every game is massive now and we have to accept that and deal with it. Other teams around us in the table will be feeling the pressure too.”

Ryan Lowe starts his three-match suspension on Saturday, meaning Andy Morrell or Tom Elliott will go into the side to partner Andy Bishop.

Paul Scott, Danny Carlton and Damien Allen also miss out through injury.