Ross Potter has told his Diss Town players that now is the time to ‘express themselves’ as they head into a crucial run of fixtures.
As well as crashing out of the Norfolk Senior Cup at the hands of Fakenham Town on Tuesday in a replayed quarter-final, The Tangerines have also seen their promotion quest stutter.
Recent defeats to March Town United and Framlingham Town have dropped Diss down to sixth, 12 points adrift of the top three with four games in hand.
Tomorrow, Potter takes his men to Braintree Town Reserves (3pm), a side one place and two points behind their visitors.
And that is followed on Tuesday evening by a home game against Holland FC, who have a five-point deficit on Diss.
According to the manager, if his side is going to secure themselves a place in next season’s Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division, they must start playing with more freedom.
“We have had a little dip, and perhaps some of the lads have started to feel the stresses and strains of where we are,” said Potter.
“The players need to start expressing themselves more and playing with the sort of flair they were only a few weeks ago.
“They are good players — we are not battling for promotion by accident.
“It is a crucial week for us. It is not ideal to have so many games and I would rather be in (third-placed) Haverhill Borough’s position.
“But we have to get on with it, play with smiles on our faces and bounce back after the two losses.”
On a positive front, Potter now has an almost full complement of players available for selection.
Sam Bryant completed his first 90 minutes of the year against Fakenham after a battle with a groin injury, while midfielder Jason Armes is back in contention after serving a suspension.
Experienced striker Adam Burroughs will not feature in either of the next two games, but he should be back from a long-term ankle problem within the next fortnight.