Nicky Eaden believes everyone at Kettering Town needs to “step up to the mark” as they desperately try to find a way out of their early-season slump.
The Poppies have endured a nightmare opening month following their promotion to the Vanarama National League North.
Last weekend’s 3-2 defeat at Farsley Celtic was their fifth loss in six matches and Eaden’s team remain without a win since their opening-day success over AFC Telford United.
The poor run of form has left Kettering in a lowly 20th position just above the current bottom two of Blyth Spartans and Bradford Park Avenue with just two being relegated this season ahead of a restructure of the division next summer.
The pressure has also been growing on Eaden who was appointed in the summer following the resignation of title-winning boss Marcus Law.
Things don’t get any easier as fourth-placed Alfreton Town head to Latimer Park this weekend.
And Eaden knows his team must improve rapidly.
“Alfreton will be another big, physical side with quite a direct style of football and we have to make sure we start finding a way to deal with that,” the Poppies boss said.
“Farsley were another team who played quite direct and we just didn’t seem to be able to deal with it.
“And, to be honest, it is basic stuff we are talking about like marking in the box. I don’t see other sides giving us easy chances and free shots on goal. We have to improve on that.
“We missed a chance in the last minute to make it 3-3 but I think the most disappointing thing was that the lads didn’t seem to have a go until they were losing the game.
“That wasn’t the case, for example, at Southport where we were right at it from the start but, again, we only came away with a draw when we possibly deserved more.
“I don’t think we are a million miles away at all. In a football analogy, we are hitting the crossbar and the post but not getting the goal we want.
“And it’s true that I probably don’t know my best XI at the moment and that’s because when players come in and do well in some cases it has only been for a game or two and then mistakes are being made.
“And when that happens, you feel you have to change things to try to get it back on track.
“It’s tough at the moment but I think we all need to step up and that goes for the players as much as anyone else. We need to step up to the mark in terms of performance.”
Midfielder Michael Richens, meanwhile, has joined Nuneaton Borough on a month-long loan deal.
Nuneaton confirmed the move this week while revealing a number of other signings including former Kettering defender Craig Stanley
The Poppies now know who they will face in the second qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup a week tomorrow (Saturday).
In Monday’s draw, Kettering were handed a home clash with either Redditch United or Sutton Coldfield Town after those two
teams had drawn 1-1 at the weekend.
But it was lower-ranked Sutton Coldfield who prevailed 3-1 in Tuesday’s replay, which means they will now visit Latimer Park next Saturday.