Gosport Borough players have been told they are playing for their futures between now and the end of the season after falling short in their play-off bid.
Borough assistant manager Mick Catlin accepts they have blown their chances of promotion from Southern League divsion one south & west.
But he insists the players still have plenty to play for ahead of tomorrow’s clash against Abingdon United at Privett Park (3pm).
‘Now we have failed in our play-off bid, the difficulty will be keeping the players motivated until the final game,’ said Catlin.
‘We won’t allow them to coast until the end of the season. It is not in our nature.
‘The players have been told they are playing for their future at the club and we will be looking for them to show that they have the heart and desire to mount another challenge next season.
‘It was disappointing at Almondsbury last weekend when, after playing so well in the first half when we could have established a comfortable lead, we ended up on the end of a 4-0 thumping.
‘Once Almondsbury scored, a few heads went down so we are expecting a reaction this weekend.
‘The minimum requirement we expect is that the players give their all.
‘Last season we finished eighth in the league so we have set ourselves the target of achieving a higher finish this time around.
‘If we do that then we can at least say we are progressing, even if it is slower than we would have liked.
‘Finishing below that would be viewed as a backward step.
‘Our other incentive is our excellent home record where we have suffered only one defeat in the league all season.
‘That is frustrating because we know that if we had come anywhere near replicating that away from home, we would now be in the play-offs.’
Borough will be without captain Dave Birmingham almost until the end of the season because of suspension.
Alex Hards, son of local goalkeeping great Neil Hards, continues in goal in place of Mark Brown who is ruled out by a shoulder injury.
Gosport Borough: Hards, Cox, Ward, Castle, Cook, Wooden, Ford, Jones I, Bennett, Taylor, Smith, Heather, Woodward, Sewell, Ferguson, Lynch.