Gosport Borough are braced for a Southern League premier division relegation battle after their 1-0 loss at Bedford Town.
Assistant boss Mick Catlin is adamant the Privett Park outfit must be prepared for a scrap.
He said: ‘Like it or not we are in a relegation battle.
‘This was our first league game for a month because of the cups and we have fallen behind.
‘We need to start picking up points and, unless we do, having games in hand won’t mean a lot.
‘There are two home games coming up and it is vital that we look to win them.’
Borough’s biggest problem at the moment is their failure to put chances away.
And Catlin recognises the form of striker Justin Bennett could be the key.
‘Once Justin gets back to scoring we will be fine,’ he added.
‘His confidence is down at the moment and affecting his form.
‘Once he regains his touch and we start putting our chances away we will be okay.
‘We are not too far away and have worked too hard to get into this league to throw it all away.’
Gosport have slipped to second from bottom but Catlin was disappointed not to return from Bedfordshire with at least a point.
‘It is our first defeat away in the league and we did everything but win it,’ said Catlin.
‘We created a host of chances but again we were guilty of not taking them.
‘Our goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore hardly had anything to do but we switched off once and paid the price for it.
‘It is frustrating because our performance warranted at least a point.
‘It is hard to be too critical when your players do most things right.
‘We just didn’t stick the ball in the net and it is all about goals.’
The winning goal came in the 27th minute when the home side got in behind the Borough defence and Jamaine Ivy fired home.
Borough pressed for an equaliser but the home keeper pulled off a series of saves and Bennett hit the woodwork.
Central defender Sam Pearce was thrown up front in the closing minutes in a bid to snatch an equaliser, but it proved in vain.
Pearce, who has joined Borough from the Hawks on a three-month loan, had a good debut.