Holbeach United boss Danny Clifton hopes his side’s bad luck will soon start to change.
The Tigers are back in action at Carter’s Park on Saturday when they host Deeping Rangers in a United Counties League North Premier Division derby duel.
Clifton has been hugely encouraged by his team’s performance in recent weeks and believes his young proteges should take to the green.
They created plenty of chances in Saturday’s 3-0 home loss to Hucknall and also saw a first-half penalty saved.
They entered the competition without unavailable defenders George Warrington and Will Nuttell suffering a pre-match injury setback with Bailey Baker breaking his arm which will keep him sidelined for several weeks.
Rookie keeper Bartosz Berezowski then suffered a freak injury during the game as he had to be treated in hospital after cutting his arm which he caught in an ankle which tied up the net.
Clifton said: “We missed a penalty on Saturday, had chances cleared down the line and a shot hit the post and bounced straight into their goalkeeper’s arms.
“You just sit there and think there can’t be anything else because we’ve had injuries, sending offs, shots cleared from the line, goals disallowed and penalties missed.
“I’m starting to believe there’s some sort of hold on this football club this season that needs to be broken.
“We need a bit of luck to follow our path and we just have to put Saturday behind us and do another performance this week like this because eventually it has to come.”
The home loss to Heanor last weekend, coupled with wins for Pinchbeck and Selston, left the Tigers 15 points from safety, but Clifton is unconcerned with what happens elsewhere.
He said: “Results are irrelevant because what matters to us is getting the players to a level they need to be at that level.
“If we can keep these boys at the club to be happy and everything, you can see what we can have over a period of time.
“We have 11 games left to get these boys to a place where they are good enough to hopefully play with some good experienced guys for next season and then it will be a different ball game.
“The club can see what we are doing because the support has been brilliant. They took us off the pitch on Saturday and we just want to get these guys to win.”
Visiting Deeping are in fine form, having taken 16 points in their last seven games.
Their run includes five wins and a draw – as well as a loss to league leaders Long Eaton – following Saturday’s 1-1 home stalemate with Eastwood where the Clarets struggled to make an impact on the debates.
Boss Daniel French said: “It’s going to be about being ruthless and clinical on Saturday, especially in the first 20 minutes because, if we can score, that would naturally put us in a good position.
“It’s a game that puts under a little different pressure that we struggled with.
“We’re pretty good against teams when we know what to expect, but it’s different when it’s up to us to set that tempo and be there from the start.
“We missed a bit a few times, which is something to work on.
“Holbeach will have absolutely nothing to lose. You would like to think that over the course of the season they will win a game, but we just have to make sure it’s not against us on Saturday.
“It’s a derby, but to be there on Saturday helps us a bit because I hope it would have been a bit of a wake-up call.
“We have to do better than last weekend because it won’t happen by chance and there is a lesson to be learned that we have to be better in situations like this.”
Pinchbeck United also have a derby duel on Saturday as they travel to face county neighbors Sleaford Town looking to build on last week’s win at Boston Town.
Boss Lewis Thorogood said: “We defended resolutely and put our bodies on the line last weekend while taking our risks when they came up.
“I couldn’t have asked for more than that and it was a good day at the office which was really enjoyable.
“Now we need to dust ourselves off, regroup and prepare for this weekend and see what we can get out of the game.”
Bourne – who are unbeaten in their last six Division 1 games – welcome seventh-placed Dunkirk to the JJ Mac Stadium.