Aston Villa entertain QPR in a relegation face-off on Tuesday night, and it is a game that new Villa boss Sherwood dare not lose.
Sherwood enjoyed a positive start to his Villa tenure, beating local rivals West Brom twice in the league and cup and enjoying a resounding 4-0 win at Sunderland. But he has lost his last two, 1-0 at home to Swansea and 3-1 at Manchester United. If Villa were to lose tonight they would find themselves in the bottom three with just six games remaining and in the thick of the relegation dogfight.
A win for Villa would create some daylight over the bottom three and see them climb above both Sunderland and Hull, and three points has to be the goal for Sherwood, who this week has been deliberately ramping up the pressure on his players in a bold move aimed at inspiring some fight in his squad.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Sherwood said of his players: “They know the severity of the situation. If I could hype up the pressure even more I would.
"I think this is the biggest game that a lot of these players have ever played for this football club. They are at a big club in the wrong end of the division. If they can’t handle it don’t be at this football club and don’t be at the bottom of the league.”
Sherwood will be eyeing his own situation too and tonight's result will have a major bearing on his success or failure as Villa boss.
It would be hard for Sherwood to survive relegation as Villa boss, but successfully climbing away from the drop zone could be the catalyst the Midlands giants need to progress next season, particularly with a rumoured takeover on the cards in the summer.
With QPR enjoying a comprehensive 4-1 win at West Brom on Saturday, the pressure really is on Villa to halt Rangers' charge on Tuesday night.