Ballymena United boss Glenn Ferguson insists there is no hiding place as his team attempt to get back on track against Glentoran at the Showgrounds on Saturday.
The Sky Blues are in danger of being sucked into a relegation scrap at the bottom of the Premiership table – they are only five points above basement clubs Warrenpoint Town and Ards.
Still smarting following his team’s County Antrim Shield semi final defeat by Crusaders in in midweek, Ferguson believes United must now up the ante in a bid to push up the table.
“It’s crucial for us to start picking up points, I can’t emphasise enough that enough,” said Ferguson.
“We don’t want to be dragged into a dogfight at the bottom as the season progresses.
“We need to start pushing up the league – our original aim was to claim a place in the top six. If we want to achieve that, we can’t afford to drop any more cheap points.
“Sometimes circumstances dictates what happens. When you have a squad the size of ours, and you have six or seven points out at one time, it becomes very tough.
“That’s football. We’ve just got to get on with it and get them motivated for Saturday to hopefully get a result.”
Reflecting on the Shield loss – United were the holders – Ferguson added: “I put it down to a missed opportunity to reach another cup final. Yes, we had a few players missing, but Crusaders also made a number of changes.
“From the back five that played on Saturday, four of them were out. Davy Munster came in and did well in central defence with Allan Jenkins. There wasn’t much between the teams, being totally honest. One goal was always going to win it.
“Some players showed enough desire . . . others didn’t. It just wasn’t good enough in certain areas.
“It’s now a tough job for me because I need players that are ruthless. I need boys who will put their neck on the line to help us get results.”