Stevenage manager Steve Evans has played down any desperate need for three points at Carlisle United.

With international fixtures decimating the League One programme, the game at Brunton Park becomes Stevenage's game in hand, and three points would shift them back up to sixth and inside the play-off positions, level on games with their main rivals.

But after three games without success, there is no overriding panic on get the victory according to the boss.

Evans said: "Must win games are like when we had Grimsby Town last season. If we won , we were promoted from League Two. 

"That was a must win game. 

"I think everyone knows that the teams in the top eight have got to play each other, that happens every season. 

"But we [also] know that the fight for the last play-off place involves Oxford, ourselves, Blackpool, Lincoln, who are absolutely flying, and Leyton Orient because of the result last week. 

"There's five or even six teams competing for one spot but we're at a football club with a fantastic infrastructure in a booming town who are right behind us. 

"Everything is positive about this football club and so can we get into that play-off group? I've always said if we get in the play-off group, we can win the play-offs.

"We have eight games to go and this is our game in hand.

"We know what the prize is for coming down the road with three points.  

"We know the prize is we're in the playoff group and if we don't [win], we're still right in the mix way with seven to go." 

Carlisle may be bottom of the league but Evans is not counting any chickens, expecting a tough encounter.

He said: "I've got a lot of respect for Paul [Simpson] and I’ve got a lot of respect for his recruitment in January and his players. 

"He's got really good players and if you look at the results, they've only ever lost by more than one goal on the odd occasion.

"If you look at Charlton recently and at Barnsley recently, it's always been game on. They should have beaten Barnsley by lost by the odd goal. 

"From our point of view, no one has to educate me how tough going to Carlisle will be. Taking on Simmo and his guys up there will be really tough. 

"But on our day we are good enough to go there and get a positive result."

Boro will head to Cumbria without skipper Carl Piergianni, serving the second of a three-match ban, while Jamie Reid is away with Northern Ireland, preparing for games with Romania Scotland.

That leaves goalkeeper Taye Ashby-Hammond as the biggest doubt after he limped out of the game with Orient during the warm-up.

"He just felt his groin and he’s not trained for a couple of days this week," said Evans.

"Hopefully we'll get Taye out today and we're looking forward to seeing him out on the grass.  

"He's either going to be fit or he's not going to be fit and it’s a simple equation we won't know until after training on Friday. 

"Jamie Reid is away for all the right reasons and we’ll miss him but he's got international recognition through hard work the kid has put in.  

"Certainly in my two years here, he's been one of the lads and one of the protagonists for working hard and he's got his reward, which is fantastic."

And the boss has already planned what will happen if Reid gets a goal against his beloved Scotland on Tuesday. 

"Well, it's easy," said Evans with a chortle. "He’ll be training with the kids. He's not coming back into this building like with that big swell and that moppy head of his. 

"No, a great result for me would be 4-3 to Scotland with a Reid hat-trick.