HINCKLEY United manager Dean Thomas has admitted his players drive him mad ahead of tomorrow’s key game at Worcester City, kick-off 3pm.
The Knitters go to St George’s Lane 17th in Blue Square Bet North, just two point clear of the relegation zone in the tightest of leagues.
Just four points separate third bottom Histon with 11th placed Corby Town, but the Knitters would be in no danger if they could find the consistency Thomas craves.
While they have scored 71 goals and beaten some of the biggest sides in non league football in cup competitions, they have conceded 82 times, giving them the second worst defensive record in the division.
Thomas said: “It drives me potty. As a manager you want to be able to read what your team will do week to week.
“We are so inconsistent it’s unbelievable. The lack of experience in the side is probably a big thing.
“Losing Craig McAughtrie at the start of the season to injury left a big hole. We can’t look back though.
“Now is not the time. We’ve got to treat the next three games as the three biggest games of our lives.
“I definitely think we’ll stay up because we can play so well. We’d actually been in good form before we lost to Bishop’s Stortford on Monday.
“That was the first defeat in five games.”
A win for Hinckley could be enough to keep them in a league Thomas says is the tightest he has ever known.
“It’s really packed together. We’ve won and drawn quite a lot of games, but we can’t escape.
“We’ve got more points than we had last season and we finished 15th then. It’s the closest league I’ve known.
“It shows that you can’t underestimate anyone in the league. Anyone can beat anyone on the day,” he said.
The game is must win for Hinckley’s opponents if they are to make the play-offs. Thomas admits Worcester are a good side, but he has vowed to take the game to them.
“Worcester have done really well all season. They’ve had a steady team for the most part.
“They are a good side and it’s a crunch game for them. We won’t sit back though. We’ll look to take it to them.
“The players won’t be worried tomorrow. They are young so they tend to play without fear. It also means they sometimes don’t appreciate the situation as well as they should.
“We need to be tighter as a unit. We can’t carry players, everyone has to play their part,” he said.
Skipper Andy Gooding (knee) is likely to miss out, but striker Omar Bogle has recovered from a hamstring strain.
KNITTERS FROM: Haystead, Holt, Flanagan, Lavery, Lister, Byrne Richards-Everton, Kerry, Belcher, Bragoli Farrell, Newton, Bogle, Dudley, Joyce