The two teams go head-to-head tomorrow at the International Stadium in a crucial promotion fixture.
The home side are currently sitting pretty in second spot in the table – just two points off leaders Brackley Town with two games in hand. The Magpies, meanwhile, are two points and two places further back, having played two games more.
With only one automatic promotion spot available in the division, Gateshead would appear to be in the box seat.
“These are the games that you have to win,” said Baines.
“The Chorley team which went up in 2019 – I only played six or seven games that season – but the mentality that season was games against the other title contenders were games that you had to win. Our goal is not to finish this season in the play-offs, it’s to win the league.
“We know how hard it is to get out of this league so if we can win these next two games against Gateshead and Brackley we will be right up there.
“It’s a massive period we have got coming up.
“This weekend is going to be very tough. I would say it’s going to be the hardest games of the season. They are a very organised team, a good set of lads who are going to give us a really tough game.
“They have got some big lads at the back and can go front to back quickly, but they can also play good football.
“It’s a decent ground, a decent pitch – obviously we have got to travel all the way up to the North East.
“I believe the weather is not going to be too great so it’s going to be a horrible place to go but it’s a challenge we will be up for.”
The Magpies head into the fixture in good spirits especially on the back of two excellent 2-1 and 4-3 wins over fellow promotion rivals AFC Fylde and Curzon Ashton respectively over the Christmas period.
“To get six points from two games against teams who are in and around us was great,” said Baines, who was left kicking his heels last Sunday as their scheduled return fixture against
Fylde at Victory Park was postponed due to several Covid-19 cases in the Coasters’ squad.
“We got walloped by Fylde the season before so to go there and win, play like we played – it was probably the best we have played all season. Against Curzon, we showed massive character to come through that one.”
Fylde’s game against York this weekend has been postponed. Southport head to Telford United.
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