Belper Town boss Charlie Palmer has challenged his players to show a level of consistency in the final nine games of the season, as the Nailers target a top ten spot in the Evo-Stik First Division South.
A Jonathan Williams penalty five minutes from time gave Belper all three points against Leek Town, fifth in the table before Saturday’s kick-off, as Palmer’s men bounced back from a midweek defeat at home to Bedworth United.
The difference in performances in the two games - and respective results - has left Palmer questioning his players’ mindset ahead of another away trip this coming weekend to third-placed Spalding United.
Spalding, despite their lofty position, have been struggling for consistency themselves at home having lost five of their 17 games at the Hayley Stewart Football Ground so far this season - the latest coming against Witton Albion.
A late goal gave Spalding a 2-1 win in the reverse fixture at the Marstons Stadium on September.
Palmer said: “I’m looking forward to it. We owe them one. We lost to them at home but we were unfortunate to lose the game. It’s another game where I can see how far away we are from the so-called top teams.
“The sad thing is we’ve done better against the better teams than the games we’re expected to win. I have to question our mindset. Against the lesser teams I have to question our mindset.
“I know against Spalding, Leek, Newcastle in the past the players have been up to it and they’ll be up for Saturday. But against teams where we should be getting results I have to question ‘what’s the reason?’ and I say it’s there mindset.”
Palmer believed his side were deserving of the three points against Leek at Harrison Park and is of the opinion it is more of a reflection of the potential within the group rather than a one-off victory.
“I’ve been disappointed with some of the players because we are so up and down,” the Nailers boss added. “We get a good result against Newcastle then a poor one against Bedworth and then a good result against Leek.
“What they’ve got to realise is to recognise the importance of preparing themselves and we might all get better days than bad days. Losing to Bedworth was a poor result but the potential is there to be there or thereabouts.
“I know, as the manager, there are areas of the team I need to improve on and I’ll be looking to bring in players in the summer. I’m hoping we can finish off the season in the top ten.
“There is potential there but it’s getting them to understand the importance of doing it week in, week out. We’re always going to have bad days but the defeat to Bedworth was unacceptable. We all make mistakes, move on and learn from it.”