Port Vale manager Neil Aspin has warned his players that relegation to the Vanarama National League would be a shock to their current lifestyle as professionals.
Currently sitting 19th in the table and seven points above the drop-zone, the Valiants are without a win in 2018 and in need of some points to steer towards safety.
And now Aspin has called on his squad to forget about the extravagant life of professional football and to focus on winning the games they have coming up.
“I know for a fact – because I have managed in non-league football – if some of the players find themselves in that level of football it would be a massive reality check for them,” warned Aspin.
“A lot of young lads nowadays, they want the trimmings; they want what goes with being a professional footballer, of having an agent and having a nice car.
“But to have a long career you have got to keep producing week-in week-out over a number of years.”
With 13 games remaining in the season, Aspin believes Vale’s performances since the new year have been well below the level required to compete in the Football League.
He added: “Myself as a manager and my staff, we are fair to the players but now is the time where some of the players have got to step up to the plate.
“They have got to do more than they have done all season really. They have possibly done OK in games but now is the time where a lot of them have got to look at themselves and they have got to start producing on the pitch.
“We want all the younger players to look at the older players in the team like Tom [Pope] and Danny [Pugh].
“They need to use them as examples of players who have played for a lot of years but still have a desire to keep playing and have a pride in the way they go about their business.”
Mid-table Newport County visit Vale Park on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.