SHAUN PEARSON admits some of the Wrexham players are feeling the pressure as the promotion challenge continues to falter.

Wrexham were beaten 4-2 at Ebbsfleet United on Saturday and have now lost four of their last five National League matches.

Despite the poor run of form, Bryan Hughes' side are fourth in the table with five games to go.

Pearson says Wrexham have got to find a way of winning games to cement a play-off spot and ease the pressure on the Reds who failed to finish in the top seven last season following a woeful run-in.

"Without a doubt some are feeling the pressure but we need to find a way of releasing that," said Pearson.

"We need to find a way of getting that mental obstacle out of the way and find a way of winning games

"However ugly it is, we have to find a way of doing that.

"Once we get that monkey off our backs, I am sure things will start to look a bit brighter.

"Once we are in the play-offs, I think the pressure will come off and hopefully we will see improved performances."

Teams who finish second or third avoid a preliminary round play-off game and will advance to a home semi-final tie.

But Pearson just wants to make sure of a top-seven berth and insists it doesn't matter where Wrexham finish as long as the Reds extend their season.

"People talk about top spot - that is gone, so get that out of your head," said Pearson.

"People talk about second and third but we need to get a win to get ourselves into the top seven and then you can worry about where you go from there.

"Once you are in you have got a chance.

"People talk about form and momentum but if you get in, it doesn't really matter.

"I have been in play-offs on form and been beaten, been out of form and ended up winning, so we have just got to get ourselves in."

Wrexham have 72 points and Pearson believes one more win will seal a play-off spot, with the centre-back hoping it arrives against Braintree Town, who have already been relegated, at The Racecourse on Saturday.

"Seventy five points generally gets you in so that is what we need to concentrate on doing," said Pearson.

"We move onto Saturday and it is a massive opportunity.

"Braintree have picked up recently but it is a game we need to be winning, and we will be looking to win."

Wrexham trailed 3-0 at half-time against Ebbsfleet, whose players didn't warm-up before the game due to a wages dispute.

Goals from Stuart Beavon and Pearson gave hope of an unlikely comeback before Ebbsfleet scored a fourth, and Pearson felt Wrexham should have got something out of the game after creating numerous second half chances.

"We gave it a good go but it is just so frustrating," said Pearson.

"The first half was atrocious, I don't there is any other word to describe it.

"Second half we should have got something out of the game, we had that many chances and should have scored six without doubt.

"We had chance after chance and have got to put them away."

But Pearson concedes the damage was done in the first half.

"If you are going to give yourself a mountain to climb like that, you are not going to get any points," added Pearson.

"What we have been good at this season is staying in games and having a solid base, a solid foundation, and we need to get back to that.

"It might not be the most exciting but if that is how you win games, that is how you win games."