When a team is suffering a difficult run questions are bound to be asked about everything from team selection to training schedules, particularly as frustration grows with so much good football having already been played by the same group of players.
With confidence such a huge factor in any walk of life, as it is in team sports, we wondered if that feeling of self-belief which had been flowing through the squad in waves had been harder to find since the return from the enforced lay-off at the beginning of February.
“The determination to sort difficult situations out has to be there within everybody,” manager Chris Beech said. “That’s a done thing, you can’t not be like that as a professional footballer. You have to have that and then step on from that point with your technicalities and whatever you’re very good at.
“It can be difficult because belief and confidence do take knocks, there’s no hiding away from that. But what we can’t do is step back. You have to stand up and deal with it.
“We have a good squad here, we’ve seen that, and you want your players to step up and take responsibility for what you’re trying to achieve. That’s all a manager can try and do.
“Within that we encourage and jump on positive factors, and step forwards. In any business you knuckle down when it’s not going to plan and you work hard to get yourself out of it.
“It’s my life and our life. Frustration, it follows through into everything you are, especially when you do your job with respect. I don’t take the mick out of the role I’ve got. I’m very proud of what we do and have been doing.
“It hurts. The fans, it hurts. It’s hurting the players because they care. It’s our job and we get paid, so it’s our job to make sure we represent correctly and we’ve got to work very hard to get those representations better and back to where we want them.”
“The facts and stats tell me the boys are having a go,” he continued. “We’ve been ahead in most of these fixtures, so that shows that something is right for large parts of each game.
“For whatever reason they aren’t seeing it off, even though we’ve touched on these extreme circumstances that we faced. You do different things with different players, of course you do, and you just sometimes need it to go for you.
“We’ve started games very well, but in League Two players can have a wobble if goals go against them. We’ve had meetings this week where we’ve talked about being dominant, and about being steady when we take the lead, and we talked about the fact we’re almost giving teams something for nothing.
“We have to be better with these things because ultimately it’s costing us. If the opponent scores and is lifted by 25% we have to match that, or lift ourselves by 30% to make sure they don’t start to take over and stop us from getting points and results.
“We need to be running opponents down again if they do get a leg up or a lift. We’re working very hard at getting this back on track.”
And with an injury update, he said: “Brennan said he wasn’t at one hundred percent and I want to make sure that everybody who is out on the pitch is at their maximum.
“He had a little knock, wo hopefully he’ll be back and at it again sooner rather than later. Callum Guy was with his family, and rightly so, so we went with Dean Furman, who I thought played well.
“Josh Kayode was a hard one to take. He started the game great, and his movement was excellent. We’ll just have to see how he is.
“Rhys Bennett is fine, if he was injured he wouldn’t be on the bench. It’s a case of looking at what we wanted to do in the game and making the selections accordingly, along with the goals we’ve conceded lately.
“I know it’s hard but every player has a part to play in a goal conceded and a goal scored. Rod’s been training very well and he played well in the game. He had a couple of mistakes, but so does every player within 90 minutes, and they didn’t cost us a goal.
“The lads who played were committed, it hasn’t gone our way, so we have to move on. It isn’t accepted, not one bit, but we have to move on.”
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