Steve Drench has warned FC Halifax Town they cannot rely on their ability alone to beat minnows Ashton Athletic in Saturday’s FA Cup clash.
Ashton are three levels below Halifax and have dubbed the game the biggest in their history.
But Town go into the game on the back of a disappointing 3-2 defeat at Gainsborough and an underwhelming 1-0 win over Stalybridge.
Drench is expecting a full-blooded battle on Saturday and says Town’s attitude has to be spot-on.
“Billy said to us after Tuesday night we’ll be under no illusions about Saturday,” he said.
“It’s a cliche but it’s their cup final and that means they’ll be competing for every ball, every tackle, every header.
“We will know we’ve been in game by the end of it.
“The minimum we can give is 100 per cent.
“We can’t just rely on our ability to get us through games. We’re coming up short because we’re coasting through and teams are outworking us.”
When asked to sum up Tuesday night’s defeat at Stalybridge, Drench said: “Very disappointing. I thought we started really well and took the lead early on but again, from a set-piece, it was poor marking not for the first time this season. It reminded me of the first goal we conceded at Nuneaton on the opening day.
“We got back in front again and you’re thinking, ‘we’ve had our kick up the backside, just see it out to half-time’ but then one ball just beats everyone and they’re level again.
“Their third goal sums up the night really. The shot was going nowhere the goal but it gets deflected and goes in.
“After that we had a couple of half chances but nothing major. We should have won the game but we’ve come away with nothing.”
Drench believes Town are not working hard enough on the pitch and says that needs to change.
“Last Saturday was nowhere near the levels we need to be at but we won,” he said.
“Then last night we played some good stuff but ended up with nothing.
“We need to work hard and earn the right to win games.
“At the minute we’re coasting. We’re a big team in this league but we don’t have a divine right to win games - it doesn’t work like that.
“Right now we’re coming up short. We need to work harder than other teams before they start getting their foot on the ball.
“We’ve played the top three teams and didn’t get as many points as we would have liked.
“We’ve probably got more favourable fixtures coming up against teams you’d think we could beat but we would have looked at Tuesday night’s game and thought that it was a nailed on three points.
“The lads aren’t purposefully going out not to win games, we know what we need to do and we need to get it right.”
Drench is also concerned at the number of avoidable goals Town are giving away.
“It feels like I’m doing very little in games but I’m still picking the ball out of the net every week,” he said.
“I think the only good goal we’ve conceded was the Harrogate goal where the lad’s smashed it in the roof of the net.
“Apart from that, you can pick holes in all the others.
“It’s frustrating because they’re so avoidable by better concentration or better decision-making.
“You might say ‘it’s a new team or we’re still gelling together’ but we’ve had the whole of pre-season and 11 games together now, so we can’t use that as an excuse.
“We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses by now.
“If they’re great goals you hold your hands up but if it wasn’t for those sloppy goals we could be higher up in the table rather than being eighth.”