Dean Austin wants to see his side develop a more streetwise and nasty streak in games - and bemoaned how easy it is for opposition teams to currently net past them.
Town slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Vale Park this afternoon, making it just six points from eight games and with no clean sheets kept.
Austin cut a frustrated figure in the post-match interview as he saw the same defensive frailties and attacking profligacy cost his side again.
And he added that he'd like to be able to get on the pitch himself to help his players, but admits it's up to them to 'show some balls' to get out of their rut.
"I'm very frustrated, as I have much of the season to be honest," he said.
"We grew into the game, but we've got to take opportunities, and if we don't take them and don't defend properly then we're going to lose games of football.
"We have two unbelievable chances in the first half at 0-0, but then we go down the other end and concede a really crap goal."
Matters were not helped by the sending off of Aaron Pierre in the second half, and it was a decision Austin was far from impressed in.
He said: "We got a crazy five minutes with the referee and I don't have a clue why he booked Aaron, and then obviously he puts himself in a position where he gets sent off.
"It's annoying and I'm angry. I don't want to come and make excuses about referee decisions. But once we go down to 10 it's a difficult task."
With struggling Notts County coming up at Sixfields next, Austin will have plenty to think about with his team selection, and he admits he'd love to be on the pitch alongside his players now in a bid to help turn their fortunes around.
"I'm disappointed for the players because I see how hard we work in the work. We're in a tough moment and the only way we'll get out of it is by scrapping. We've got to show some balls now. In this division it's the one thing you have to do, and if we don't we'll have a problem - although I don't think it was a lack of fight this afternoon.
"Teams are not working hard enough to score goals against us - they are crap goals. It's too easy and maybe we are lacking a bit of devilment and nastiness.
"We can't be thinking that we will be a pure football team in League Two, we've got to mix it and be dogged and get on second balls.
"A lot of those boys have more ability than when I played, but I did have a pair of nuts and I was prepared to stick my foot in. I've said to them that I wish I could get out there myself and help them, because it's a tough time.
"When you can't find a break you have to be horrible and not give anything away at the other end."