Manager Andy Davies accepts St Neots Town are in the midst of a slump . . . and he is well aware of the need to quickly find a way out of it.

Tom Wood misses St Neots Town's trip to Merthyr. Picture: CLAIRE HOWESTom Wood misses St Neots Town's trip to Merthyr. Picture: CLAIRE HOWES

Davies was left ‘completely embarrassed’ by a Southern League Chlalenge Cup exit at the hands of lower-level opposition on Tuesday night.

Saints were beaten 3-2 at Aylesbury in a second-round tie eventually completed at the fourth attempt following a series of postponements.

They twice hit the front courtesy of skipper Micky Hyem and joint leading scorer Declan Rogers, but were undone by the concession of two goals in the space of four minutes early in the second half.

The exit continued a miserable run for a Saints side who remain in the Premier Division relegation zone after collecting just one point from their previous three league games.

Tom Ward could make a surprise return to the St Neots Town team. Picture: CLAIRE HOWESTom Ward could make a surprise return to the St Neots Town team. Picture: CLAIRE HOWES

Davies said: “I don’t mind admitting I was completely embarrassed by the performance and result at Aylesbury.

“We gave the lads a gameplan to see it through after coming in 2-1 up at the break, but they didn’t stick to it. People thought they could do their own thing and it degenerated into an awful display.

“We’re conceding far too many goals – that’s now 14 in our last four games in all competitions – and we’re not competing anywhere near well enough.

“I feel as though I’m papering over the cracks in many ways. We’ve got through the spell of suspensions following the FA Trophy exit, but now we’re suffering with injuries and unavailability.

“We’re in a slump and we need to find a way out of it, but I’m adamant we can do that.”

Davies hopes that will happen tomorrow when he takes his side to play-off chasing Merthyr for a crucial Premier Division clash.

The prospect of a positive result in Wales aren’t helped by the absence of centre-back Tom Wood, whose partner is due to give birth imminently.

That hasn’t stopped Davies from releasing former Fulham youngster Chevron Mclean after a short spell with the club. He was culpable for a couple of the Aylesbury goals in midweek.

But it does mean that transfer-listed Tom Ward could come back in from the cold tomorrow and when Saints host Huntingdonshire rivals St Ives Town on Tuesday.

The former skipper has not appeared since collecting his second red card of the season in the November replay exit from the FA Trophy against Marine – an indiscretion which led to him being stripped of the captain’s armband.

Davies has also snapped up youngster James Goode on loan from League One side Peterborough while Miles Smith could make his final Saints appearance at Merthyr.

He is the subject of an approach from Corby Town and is expected to join the Northern Premier Division side early next week.

Davies added: “It will be a shame to lose Miles, but it looks like he will go to Corby next week.

“We have agreed a deal with King’s Lynn for ‘Wardy’, but he remains under contract here at St Neots Town and may well be required in the next couple of games before any transfer happens.

“He is well aware of the situation and I’m sure we can rely on him to perform well.

“We got a good point to help us stay up at Merthyr last season, and the aim is to get a result there again.

“We’re averaging a point-per-game in the league and continuing to do that will be enough to keep us up.

“But we obviously hope we can do better than that. We still have games in hand on a lot of teams and the league is still very tight.”

Striker James Hall will miss the trip to Wales with a calf problem, but Davies is hopeful he will be back to face St Ives.