Tommy Wright has urged his Corby Town players to feed off his confidence as the preparations for the festive period get under way.
The Steelmen will head into the Christmas fixtures in the bottom three of the Vanarama National League North after a treacherous run of form in the past three months.
Having kicked off the season with a six-match unbeaten run, Corby have won just twice in all competitions since they beat Bradford Park Avenue 2-0 at Steel Park on August 18.
Three matches in the space of a week over Christmas could prove to be season-defining for Wright’s team, who are without a game this weekend.
They head to county rivals Brackley Town on Boxing Day before hosting Lowestoft Town on December 28. And 2016 kicks off with the reverse fixture with Brackley at Steel Park on January 2.
Corby slipped to another heavy defeat last weekend.
Paul Malone was sent off and Stockport County struck four second-half goals to secure a 4-0 success.
That resulted in Wright shaking his squad up at the start of the week with Callum Ball being released, Andre Johnson and Kurtis Revan being made available for dual registrations and Harry Burgoyne’s loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers not being renewed.
But it’s the confidence, or lack of it, within the squad that is the concerning thing for Wright.
And he insists the players don’t need to be set any targets for the trio of matches over Christmas when the task at hand is so clear to see.
“The boys have got to feed off me because my confidence and belief is always through the roof,” the Steelmen boss said.
“They need to dust themselves off and get ready for what lies ahead.
“And, to be honest, some of them need a reality check. They need to go away, look in the mirror, look at the league table and motivate themselves as well as me doing it.
“I shouldn’t have to set them any targets for the next three games, they can see what we need.
“We need to win games of football. They had their points target at the start of the season and obviously that has been adjusted accordingly.
“My sole aim now is to make sure this club avoid relegation.
“We must have full focus over Christmas and I need a reaction from them.
“I genuinely don’t believe we are a bad side. I think we have shown enough signs that we can turn things around.
“But confidence is low and that’s what needs to change.”