Marcus Law has admitted Kettering Town are a “million miles away” from what was expected of them at the start of the season.
The Poppies have endured a poor first half of the season in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division, having been unable to build on their charge towards the play-off places in the last campaign which fell just short.
With the club’s hierarchy expecting a promotion challenge this time around, they have so far been left unfulfilled with Law’s men sitting in 10th place after an inconsistent first four months.
They are 12 points off the play-off places with any hope of a burst towards the top five already fading.
And Law knows he will have “failed” if he is unable to deliver something spectacular in the last four months of the season.
“We need to do better in 2017 than we did in 2016,” the Poppies boss said.
“We are not a million miles away in terms of performance but we are a million miles away from where we have planned and expected to be.
“Once the remit has not been achieved then obviously I would have failed to do what I set out to do.
“People are making decisions after certain results now and I can totally understand that.
“But there are opponents out there trying to stop us every week from doing something.”
The Poppies’ first match of the new year is at strugglers Cambridge City, who play at St Ives Town’s home ground, this afternoon Monday, 3pm).
Cambridge are battling to avoid the drop but have improved under new manager Robbie Nightingale in recent weeks.
But Law is hoping his team can replicate their last performance on St Ives’ pitch, which saw them beat the Saints 7-0 at the start of November.
“Cambridge are scrapping, they have brought a new manager and players in,” he added.
“It won’t be easy, the pitch and conditions will make it hard for both teams.
“Will it be a spectacle? Probably not but that ground has been kind to us. We have enjoyed going there and hopefully that carries on into what is a big January for us.”