ALEX PIKE admits Gosport Borough need to improve quickly if they are to give themselves a chance of staying in the Southern League premier division.
He regards the visit of Dorchester Town to Privett Park on Saturday as a must-win game for his beleaguered squad (3pm).
The 5-1 home defeat against Chesham in midweek was another huge setback.
That result left them five points behind Dunstable who earned a rare victory for them as they beat Weymouth.
Though Pike’s team have three games in hand on their relegation rivals there is a danger they could find themselves cut adrift at the bottom.
New players have been brought in and others are expected to arrive.
Matters can’t be expected to change dramatically overnight but Pike needs to see greater signs of improvement.
What he can’t afford is to concede five goals and lose for the fourth game in a row which would leave morale in tatters.
‘This is a game that we need to win,’ said the Borough boss.
‘Time is short and we have to start winning soon.
‘With Dunstable getting a result it just compounded our situation.
‘We can’t afford to lose any more ground at the bottom.
‘With the form we are in at the moment any game is going to be tough for us.
‘It is vital we shake the events of midweek off and get on with it.
‘Players need to stand up and be counted because we need to see a drastic improvement.’
Midfielder Jason Smith is back in contention after two weeks working in America.
Defender Ed Sanders may also be close to returning after injury.
After the first goal went in against Chesham the Borough defence looked fragile and vulnerable.
Pike admits a priority for the home side is to stop shipping goals.
He added: ‘Conceding goals has been a characteristic of the side for far too long.
‘Four of the goals were far too soft and would have been prevented by proper defending.
‘They were schoolboy errors and that is unforgivable.
‘At times players were guilty of not concentrating and switching off.
‘You do that at our level and you will get punished.
‘We need to wear our hearts on our sleeves and be prepared to battle.
‘It is men’s football and we need a certain degree of physicality and the right mentality.
‘At the moment we need both in abundance.’
Borough will be encouraged by the fact that they did manage to get on the scoresheet in midweek.
Just after half-time Craig McAllister rose above the defenders to power his header into the net for what proved a consolation in the end.
It was Borough’s first goal in nearly 600 minutes of football.
‘Now we have broken our duck we need to go on and score a few more,’ added Pike.