St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke has called on his players to stand up to the challenge of arresting their worrying slump.

Saints enjoyed a fine start to the new campaign but are in freefall after suffering six successive defeats in three different competitions.

A run of four Southern League Premier Division Central losses in a row has been book-ended by exits from the FA Cup and the FA Trophy. They bowed out of the latter competition when losing 2-1 at AFC Rushden & Diamonds last Saturday.

But Marheineke is hopeful his men can climb out of the doldrums with a positive performance when hosting Stratford Town in a league clash at Westwood Road tomorrow (Saturday, 3pm).

"It's a difficult time for us," admitted Marheineke. "While we have been able to take positives from several of our recent performances, this is a results-based business and it is now time for the players to stand up and be counted.

"We have a young group and we have to use experiences like this to become mentally stronger.

"I'm not concerned with the league table at this stage of the season. We've picked up a point-per-game which is obviously considerably better than we had managed at this stage of last season.

"We didn't get over-excited after a good start so we're not going to panic after a tough run.

"We had a very positive chat after the game against Diamonds and a line has been drawn under the season so far. We're treating the game against Stratford as a new start."

Marheineke is hopeful of making a couple of additions to his squad in the next fortnight.