Manager Dave Frecklington has urged fans not to panic, despite back-to-back defeats in an unhappy start to 2019 by Matlock Town.
A single-goal loss at struggling Lancaster City on Saturday followed the New Year’s Day reverse to Gainsborough Trinity, dropping the Gladiators to ninth in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League, Premier Division table.
But Frecklington says the setbacks should not mask what had been an impressive run of form to round off 2018.
“If you look at the bigger picture, three defeats in 17 league games isn’t a bad return,” he said.
“We’ve been used to winning games but, because of how well we’ve done, people are now giving us respect.
“Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like losing, and successive defeats does not sit well with me. But we don’t become a bad team overnight.
“It’s time to take stock. We are having two training sessions this week to work on aspects of our game that need improvement.
“But I can sleep easily in the knowledge that our players are giving everything. In the last two games, we’ve been found wanting in both penalty boxes, but the effort has certainly been there.”
Reflecting on a frustrating afternoon at Lancaster, Frecklington added: “Take away the opening five minutes and the first half was pretty even. But we totally dominated the second half.
“We were always knocking on the door, but we didn’t have enough quality in the final third.
“We had the chances, but we didn’t click in the box. For instance, Craig Westcarr had a chance that he would normally put away. However, we also need to get a clean sheet.”
This Saturday, Frecklington expects a tough game at Witton Albion, even though the Cheshire-based outfit have a dodgy home record.
He said: “It will be difficult, so we will need to roll our sleeves up to stay close to those play-off places.”