RHYL manager John Hulse dismissed suggestions that the visit of reigning champions and leaders The New Saints is make-or-break time for his second-placed Lilywhites.
Rhyl are three points behind TNS having played two matches more and have a much inferior goal difference going into this evening’s live televised clash (5.15pm kick off, S4C).
“Of course it’s a very big game, but it’s certainly not make-or-break,” said Hulse.
“There are plenty of twists and turns before we’re finished and we have Welshpool still massively involved, not to mention Connah’s Quay Nomads and Llanelli, so it’s far from being a two-horse race.
“We have to go for a win the same as they will do and while they (TNS) would probably settle for a draw, whatever the outcome it’s not the be-all and end-all of our season.
“They’ve been full-time for five years now and it would be good for the league if more clubs were able to go full-time too.
“The players and management of the two clubs all know each other and get on well and everyone is looking forward hugely to this special occasion.”
Rhyl have a 2-0 defeat at Treflan in November to avenge and will again be without Stuart Graves, injured in the Loosemores Cup final defeat by Caersws, while Adie Moody is out for the season after fracturing an ankle playing for the reserves.
Hulse added: “Otherwise everyone is fit and available and hoping the game proves to be a great advert for the league.”
TNS boss Ken McKenna feels his side have a “margin for error” as they bid to tighten their grip on the Welsh Premier crown, writes John Bridgwater.
The fact that the defending champions go into the clash with a three-point cushion, as well as two games in hand, puts the onus on the Lilywhites to force a result.
“It’s a very important game and if we can win it will put us in a fantastic position,” said McKenna, whose side are unbeaten in 13 league outings.
“We’ll be going all-out to win as we always do, but even a draw or defeat won’t be the end of the world as we’ve now got some margin for error.
“We’ve got nine games left and if we win six of them that would be enough even if the sides below us win all their games.
“But the players are in a rich vein of form and want to keep our run going. We’ve spoken at length to remain focused.”
McKenna is looking to put on a polished display in front of a live television audience.
“I really want to put on a good performance for the cameras,” he said. “Although we’ve done well in the other TV games, we’ve not played brilliantly so it would be nice if it all clicked.”
The Saints keep the squad that was on duty for the 1-0 win over Newport in last week’s FAW Premier Cup final, although striker Carl Lamb returns after being cup-tied.
Front runner Nicky Ward and right-back Martyn Naylor return to training next week and are likely to feature in the closing stages of the season.