Edinburgh University hockey club had high hopes of making Division One’s top four this season but injuries to key defenders Dan Coultas, a recent Scotland captain, and fellow internationalist Chris Duncan, have hindered progress.
A series of disappointing results have followed and the students, who still have three current Scottish internationalists and one former internationalist, in their squad, have plummeted to eighth out of ten.
Saturday’s 3-2 home defeat by Hillhead, their ninth so far this season, was a massive blow.
Coach Graham Moodie and his men travel to improved Western Wildcats on Saturday (3pm bully-off) looking for a much-needed win to boost confidence.
Victory, and results going their way elsewhere, could move them up the league and out of the drop zone.
As it stands, Edinburgh have 15 points from 16 games while seventh-placed Watsonians have 17 from the same number of fixtures.
Watsonians, thumped 10-0 by leaders Grange last Saturday, travel to former league leaders Bromac Kelburne, the defending champions, for a 1.30pm start.
Hillhead, who are sixth, are also on 17 points from 16 games and they face new pace-setters Grange at Fettes on Saturday (2pm).
So, the students have to claim the three points as their final game is at home to Kelburne on Saturday, April 22 and, on current form, they are unlikely to get anything out of that.
Grange continue to take one game at a time as they home in on the title.
Ed Irvine, the team’s manager, said: “We’re keeping our feet on the ground and working hard and we’re not looking any further than Saturday.”
The other game features a basement scrap between bottom club AAM Gordonians and the side just above them in the table, PSL Team Sport Clydesdale (1pm).