Buckingham Town manager Chris Robson has admitted he has found this season harder than he expected after his side suffered a seventh defeat in eight games at the weekend.
The Robins boss, who took over at the start of the season, had previously set the target of a top six finish but Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to Raunds Town leaves his side languishing down in 16th in United Counties League Division One.
Robson has now turned his attention to planning for next season given the disappointment of the current campaign.
He said: “It has been a difficult season, a lot more difficult than I thought it would be, and my expectations – which were maybe too high – have been nowhere near met.
“After the game on Saturday I had a positive meeting with the club about where we can improve on and off the pitch and what we need to do to take this club forward.
“We agreed this season now is about getting the right players into the club, getting everyone fit, and planning for next season to push the club forward. This doesn’t mean we throw in the white flag now as there is still a lot to play for this season. We need to try and finish as high as we can in the league, and we also have a cup semi-final to look forward to.
“It’s disappointing to think like that with still four months of the season remaining, but it’s probably the best way to prepare for next season so we can hit the ground running.”
Robson has also urged more fans to attend home games as the club continues to toil off the field, with the team still playing 12 miles out of town in Bletchley.
He added: “As a club we are in a difficult situation with regards to our set up this season.
“We have a half-finished ground which has no dugouts and an awful playing surface. We have a committee probably with the least amount of people in non-league football and we have a lack of volunteers to help on match days.
“We are not getting the numbers through the gate on a match day, and sponsorship seems hard to come by. The chairman and Darren Seaton are doing wonders just to keep the club going in my opinion.”
On Saturday. Buckingham’s struggles deepened when they were beaten 3-0 at home to Raunds Town.
Despite giving debuts to Lewis Hallford and Scott Murchie, the Robins struggled throughout and fell behind on only seven minutes when Jamie Russell was given too much time and space to score before Aaron Castagnette made it 2-0 on 32 minutes.
Things then went bad to worse for the hosts as Joe Donaldson was sent off for slapping a Raunds player before Castagnette grabbed his second.
To add insult to injury, Buckingham substitute Aman Niti was also dismissed as Town finished with just nine players.
Robson said afterwards: “Obviously I am disappointed with another league defeat, and also the sending offs, but if I look at the game overall, it wasn’t that bad even though the scoreline doesn’t suggest that, and there was a few positives to take from the game.
“I felt our work-rate and battling qualities were superb.
“The red cards made it impossible as you cannot play 35 minutes with 10 men and the last 10 with nine against a side like Raunds. I have spoken to both players and they have apologised. It was totally out of character.”
After Tuesday’s game at Irchester United was postponed, Buckingham are next in action when they go to St Neots Youth & Saints this Saturday, and Robson is confident his side will turn their form around.
He added: “We need to stay positive. Two lads have made their debut today and they done very well, but it will take time for them to settle.
“We also aim to complete the signings of two more very good players at this level this week to improve us, but we need to be realistic that with this turnover of players currently happening it will take time for them to get to know each other and get that understanding.
“We now have a run of games against teams in and around us and I do believe we will start to pick up points again.”