Jon Brady has told his Brackley Town players to stop ‘pretending’ as they bid to secure Vanarama North survival.
The Saints boss saw his side slip to a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Stockport County last Saturday and feels his men simply didn’t work hard enough.
Brackley have won just two of their past nine games and are perilously close to the relegation zone with just nine matches to go.
And ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Chorley, Brady has called on his players to start putting in the hard yards.
He said: “We competed okay last weekend but I feel, in the situation we’re in, some players are pretending.
“They think they are working hard enough but they’re not. We need people to put their bodies on the line.
“We need to toughen up and get on with it.”
Brady continues to try to improve his squad, with former Cobblers goalkeeper Dean Snedker and ex-Oxford City player Paulo Mendes joining last week.
But neither enjoyed the kind of day they would have hoped for last Saturday and Brackley remain on the hunt for recruits.
“I’m absolutely trying to get more players in,” said Brady. “We need more experience.
“We’ve got a lot of players who are 21 and under and we need some who are 24 plus with miles on the clock.
“We don’t need any more young lads but it’s extremely tough to get players in and although I’ve spoken to one or two players they don’t want to drop down a level.”
Brackley face what Brady describes as a ‘mixed bag’ of a run-in with games against some top teams and a couple who are firmly ensconced in the relegation battle.
And the manager wants his players to start taking points off sides above them as they aim to beat the drop.
“We’ve not had a problem against teams in and around us, but against the top teams we have,” he said. “We have to turn that around.
“It’s going to be a hugely tough run-in so we’ve got to work harder.”
One player who has been working hard enough is old-stager Frank Sinclair.
The former Chelsea centre-back continues to play for free at Brackley and Brady is delighted with his contribution.
“I’m absolutely overwhelmed that he continues to play for free and it’s difficult to comprehend, but it just shows what he’s all about,” said Brady.
“Whenever he plays he’s the best player on the park. He was head and shoulders above everyone else last weekend.”