Manager Matt Clements admits he faces the most important game of his St Neots Town reign tomorrow night.
Saints continue their search for a first win of the new campaign when travelling to Cambridge City for an FA Cup first qualifying round derby clash (7.45pm).
Clements’ men have collected only two points from the opening five Southern League Premier Division games and the boss pulled no punches in a damning assessment of their efforts over the Bank Holiday weekend when being beaten twice in the space of 48 hours by Hereford and Kettering.
Now, he has demanded a reaction as Saints take on lower-level opposition at ProEdge Westwood Road, in St Ives, and has vowed to wield the axe if it isn’t forthcoming.
“I think it probably is my most important game,” said Clements. “And it’s one we need to win.
“Doing that will reward the club financially, put smiles back on the faces of supporters, and create the excitement of being in the next round of the FA Cup.
“It will also mean I’ve had the reaction I want from the players. We need to pull things back round after a poor Bank Holiday weekend.
“I’m not worried, but I am irritated that some of the things I saw were unacceptable and we can’t continue to have that.
“Hereford and Kettering are both flying, but the manner of the defeats was an issue. We showed naivety against a very good Hereford side and 48 hours later we let our standards slip against Kettering.
“Too many people went missing, the basic requirements weren’t there and I found myself questioning the desire of some of the lads for the first time.
“Putting in a shift is essential at all levels of football. It is the very least the fans, who part with good money to watch us, deserve.
“This is now the last chance for some people. I won’t allow the same things to continue happening.
“I’m not being disrespectful of digging people out – I’m just letting everyone know how it is.
“I’ve always backed this group and I’m backing them again to show me what they’re about tomorrow night.”
Skipper Micky Hyem is likely to return to the Saints team tomorrow night. The midfielder was an unused substitute in both weekend games due to the combination of illness and a toe injury.
City were relegated from the Premier Division last season and have won two of their opening four Division One East games this term.
Former Saints striker Lewis Wilson is expected to feature for them.