Worksop Town skipper Jon Kennedy says better game management and the right mentality will be key if Tigers are to stand any chance of challenging for promotion.
A topsy-turvy start to the season has seen Worksop struggle to find any positive momentum and they currently sit in mid-table as their main rivals keep picking up points.
And with 14 points already to make up on the league leaders almost a quarter of the way into the season, Kennedy is aware that time is of the essence.
He said: “In a league like this where only one team goes up, you need to keep in touch otherwise there’s a danger the season can fizzle out too early and that can have a detrimental effect in terms of keeping fans and players interested.
“So it’s important we get some consistent form in place so that we can climb the table and begin to challenge.”
Kennedy admits he’s been as frustrated as anyone else at the inconsistent form shown by Tigers so far, good wins frequently being followed by defeats, many of them late on in games.
And the goalkeeper believes the margins are narrow between success and failure at the present time.
He said: “We’re not losing games by much, usually the odd goal, and often we’ve been the better side in those games.
“But rather than getting into winning positions and maintaining them, we’re either letting them slip or, in cases where we are level going into the closing stages, we are trying too hard to get the winner and leaving the back door open which has let teams in to score winning goals.
“So if we can manage the matches better then it could make a big difference. We’ve had a lot of bad luck at times but it’s not all about that - it’s breaking down the psychological barriers too.
“Normally the fine margins tend to go 50/50 in your favour or the opposition’s, but at the moment it seems not much is going our way.”
Kennedy used last weekend’s defeat to Athersley Recreation as a good example, adding: “Their first two goals were, in our view, offside for the first and then a foul on me for the second. Most referees would give the decision in my favour but, despite the lad making contact with me before the ball, he allowed it to stand.
“That proved crucial as although we got in front, we then let it slip again.
“The spirit in the squad is good and that will play a big part. We just need a couple of morale-boosting wins to help us. Often we fare better away from home when teams come onto us more and leave themselves more open at the back, so those games could be key for us.”