We caught up with defender Gary Liddle this week to get his thoughts on a frustrating run of results at Brunton Park which continued with the defeat against Yeovil on Saturday.
“We could probably go back to the interview we did a couple of weeks ago after the Morecambe game and say the exact same things," he admitted. "Five games, no goals and no points tells its own story really.
"I don’t think we played particularly badly on Saturday but, ultimately, it’s about what happens in both boxes. They scored in the last couple of seconds and we didn’t take our chances that we created during the game, and that’s the be all and end all. We come away with another loss and more frustration.
“I’ve obviously been through bad runs before, where you lose five or six games on the bounce, but I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in one where it also includes not scoring goals.
"We scored a couple of goals away at Lincoln which shows we can do it, but right now it seems it’s just at home. I don’t know what the story is behind it, it’s difficult to get your head round and it’s something we’ve got to get on with. We can’t go back in time, it’s just something we need to work hard at and hopefully it will turn for us."
“You would hope that once we do get that first goal a few more will follow and that’ll bring a couple of victories for us," he continued. "Things can change very quickly, once you win one game you can easily end up going on a good winning run. It’s about getting that first goal I think.
"Mike Jones had a shot early on in the Yeovil game which took a wicked deflection and those are the fine margins. If we can get one that goes in off someone’s backside, or an own goal or whatever, maybe the floodgates will open. If we do get that first one, hopefully the confidence will come back."
“We’ve got a good week of training this week with no midweek game, which I think is important," he told us. "I think the current schedule is that we’ll be in every day this week and I think that’s the right thing to do.
"We need to work on certain aspects of our game, and we’ll certainly be working hard to do that this week. We’re going into every game trying to score goals and win, and we’ll just continue doing that."
And, with a word for the fans, he said: “I feel for the supporters who are coming to watch us at home, particularly off the back of results such as the good performance at Lincoln.
"We’re playing at home and not backing up those performances away from home. The league is so tight this season and every team can beat everyone. If you can get a run going, like the likes of Forest Green and Newport have, you'll find yourself up there. To do that you need to score goals, which is what we’re struggling with at the moment.
"An example is that we aren’t scoring enough set pieces, which are massive in the lower leagues. If you watch the goals from all of the games on a Saturday night the amount which come from the second phase is high - what you would call ‘scrappy’ goals. We don’t seem to get those, we have to work very hard for our goals and teams don’t have to do that against us."
When asked if he felt there was anything which could be done differently to help turn things round, he told us: "We prepare exactly the same for home and away games. We don’t change anything in terms of meal times or training times, the only difference is that we aren’t on a bus for a couple of hours for a home game.
"For me, there shouldn’t be any difference, we should relish our home games. It’s a lovely pitch out there and the set up we’ve got at home is terrific. Most of your points should be picked up at home, away points are seen as bonus points really.
"You don’t go into away games to lose, but if you can have a decent away record to back up what should be a good home record then you will find yourself in the upper part of the league. It’s the other way around for us at the moment, and we know it’s something we need to rectify quickly."
“We’ve had a lot of injuries, but we won’t use that as an excuse," he said. "We’ve been playing against teams who have had the same number of injuries and it's part and parcel of football.
"We’ve got young lads in the team, the likes of Regan Slater, Jerry Yates, Jack Sowerby and Ashley Nadesan, and they won’t have been involved in runs like this before. It’s up the experienced lads in the squad to pull them through it and not let them shy away.
"It’s important that the younger players who are involved on a Saturday don’t get scared of continuing to get on the ball, because we need them. The quicker we can pull through this run, the better it will be for everyone.
"It’s frustrating because the games we’ve lost have been against teams who you would look at on paper and hope to take a lot of points from. As the saying goes, games aren’t won on paper, it’s about what happens on the pitch and unfortunately, we just haven’t been good enough.
“We’ve shown we can do it. I think we won six of our first eight games of the season and I think we’ve lost six in our last eight, so we know it can change very quickly. We’ll be going out on Saturday trying to win, as we always do.
"We’re expected to win at home, no matter who we play. The home form this season, and during the last couple of seasons, hasn’t been great. We’re obviously aware of it and we know it needs to change quickly."
“Newport are another good team," he commented. "I’ve got a couple of friends who play there, and I don’t think anyone would have expected them to be up there after the struggles they had last season.
"I think they only just stayed up, but they’re in good form and they’re right up there. They’ll look at our home record and our goalscoring record and think it’s another game they can win.
“We all say this every week, but it really is frustrating that we aren’t performing in front of our home fans. I do feel for them, and there are moans and groans from the crowd, but they’re entitled to do that.
"They aren’t getting value for money at the moment, they’re coming to watch us win games and score goals and they aren’t getting either. We’ll continue to work hard and try to get those wins for them."
On his recent injury which saw him miss the away games against Macclesfield and Lincoln, he said: “I’m not one to usually miss games so it has been frustrating during the last couple of weeks.
"It was a knee problem which flared up after the Morecambe home game and it gave me a bit of trouble in the couple of days following the game. Dolly thought the best option was to give it a bit of rest and let it settle down, and thankfully that worked and I was able to get back out there at the weekend.
“It wasn’t the result that I wanted to come back to obviously, but it was just nice to be back out there and involved. With the amount of games I’ve played in my career I’m used to playing through injuries, I don’t usually cause the physio too much fuss.
"I don’t think I’ve gone into a game in the last ten years feeling perfect without some sort of little niggle. The knee is obviously an important body part for a footballer, so we were a little bit nervous about it at first, but thankfully it settled down and it all feels ok now."
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