Gold Coast are literally struggling to make up the numbers as they attempt to break a "vicious" cycle and fend off an unwanted NRL record on Friday.
A loss to Parramatta in Robina would extend the Titans' losing streak to a club-worst eight NRL games, having conceded at least 24 points in all seven of those losses.
The sixth-placed Eels can punch their finals ticket - and stay in the hunt for a top-four finish - with a win.
But with a long list of injury concerns headed by Michael Gordon (hamstring) and Nathan Peats (knee), Hodges' priorities are a little different.
"We haven't even got 21 fit players at the moment ... we'll just put the fittest 17 we've got out there," Hodges said on Thursday, when he said a host of players would attempt to prove their fitness.
Add the external criticism that comes with a season that has only worsened since the axing of head coach Garth Brennan and the man warming incoming mentor Justin Holbrook's seat has his work cut out.
"It's the end of a long year ... I know they've copped a lot of stick from the outside as well, they tell me it's quite vicious," Hodges said.
"It (a win) would be great reward for them."
Jarrod Wallace will play after the birth of his daughter on Wednesday while, if fit, Hodges said hooker Peats could be deployed as a loose forward given the Titans' injury woes up front.
The Eels have won six of their last seven and coach Brad Arthur says they won't be distracted by a potentially tricky situation.
"Look, pride's on the line every week for every club and it's no different this week," Arthur said.
"But we really need to focus on the attitude that we present tomorrow."
The Eels will look to Mitchell Moses, who boasts an NRL-best 26 try assists this season, to play off a forward pack that should have a size advantage over the injury-hit Titans.
"He's not getting the credit he deserves because that shows that he's really committed to playing his role and not worrying about the big plays," Arthur said of his halfback.
"There's a time and place for when to pull the trigger and he's getting better at that."
STATS THAT MATTER
* The Titans are conceding the most tries (4.6 per game), points (26.5), line breaks (6.1), making the least run metres (1340) and missing the most tackles (29.8) in the NRL.
* The Titans will need to win at least two of their remaining four matches to equal their fewest wins in a season (six).
* Against the Eels, the Titans average their most points per game (23.1) and concede their fewest (18.9).
Australian Associated Press