Rob Smith believes his AFC Telford United squad are ‘mentally weak’ following their third straight league defeat – and has questioned whether they have enough fight to stay up.
The Bucks were beaten 3-1 at home by fellow National League North strugglers Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday, a game which Smith admitted they were treating as a cup final.
They remain four points above the relegation places but next up for them are Brackley Town – the team that inflicted a 6-0 humiliation on Telford nearly a fortnight ago.
When asked if he can put his finger on his side’s inability to string together positive results, Smith said: “I think the players have got the ability, they’re just mentally weak – I really think they are.
“We have been consistent – consistently poor. You watch the players in training and they’re bright and sharp, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty they have proven they don’t have the mental toughness.
“These are the basics of football. The fans must be thinking what the hell I speak to the players about. The team is just not good enough.”
Telford’s financial uncertainty has been well-documented throughout the campaign – supporters gave up their ownership and the remaining shares in the club are due to be put up for sale.
Smith does not believe matters off-the-field have affected their form on the pitch and said: “It’s nothing to do with it.
“We have got a budget – and that is an effect – but you won’t hear me moaning about anything like that.
“The players aren’t affected in any way by what happens off the pitch. I wouldn’t even begin to use anything like that as an excuse.
“Those players are better than what they’re showing, they’re just making ridiculous decisions.
“We are in a relegation fight and they look like they don’t have the fight for it, which is worrying.
“We need to be beating teams like Bradford Park Avenue if we are going to get out of the mess we’re in – and we’re in a mess.”
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Matt Urwin is no longer with Telford after being recalled from his loan by parent club Fleetwood Town.
The Bucks are looking to extend the loan deal of Shrewsbury Town keeper Callum Burton – who has played the last five league games.Subscribe to our Newsletter