UPSET results in the middle of the table have given Albury Hotspurs a chance at finishing the year on an high.
A win tomorrow against United would leave them just one-point adrift of the one-time powerhouse.
Six weeks ago Spurs were 13 points behind the green machine.
Adding to United’s woes is a run home that includes playing second-placed Boomers and third-placed Melrose, along with last year’s cup finalists Diamonds and Myrtleford.
Coach Adam Carty said the bye was the only guaranteed three-pointer.
“We have a hard run home and any point we get out of the next few weeks will be gold,” he said.
“It creates pressure but that’s just part of the game.”
Carty said last week’s 2-0 loss to ladder leader Twin City had suggested a change of fortune.
It came a week after a shock loss to last placed St Pats.
“We played very well against Twin City, it wasn’t the result we wanted after having had the lion’s share of possession,” he said.
“The big downside was that we had the opportunity to score goals and didn’t take them — that’s the frustration, possibly the biggest concern coming out of the game.
“But it was much better than the previous week when we were well below par.”
Hotspurs coach John Irvine said their challenge was to bounce back from two weeks away from the game.
Spurs had gone into consecutive byes having knocked over Myrtleford and Diamonds away from home.
“We’d expect our boys to be a bit lethargic — I guess it will be a little like jet lag,” he said.
“Suddenly you are not training indoors, there is a ball there, a referee and you really can’t simulate that in training.
“Our guys won’t be used to the physicality and that is one thing that United is very good at — they have big bodies, more big bodies than most teams.
“In some ways we have been cruelled by this break when we were in such good form.
“It’s probably going to hurt us having the two weeks off in a row — I’m not going to shy away from saying that.
“It will be a matter of how we rebound from that let up in the next three weeks that decides our season.”