Lancaster City boss Phil Brown has urged his side to get back to basics after a difficult week.
The Dolly Blues exited the FA Cup with a 2-1 defeat at Shaw Lane on Saturday before a 5-1 humbling at Warrington on their return to Evo-Stik Premier Division action on Tuesday night.
The wider context is that the Dollies have only lost twice in the league this season and were two wins from the first round proper of the world’s oldest cup competition.
But Brown believes his side lost sight of what made them First Division North champions in April and saw them start life in the higher tier so impressively.
“We need to regroup and get our focus back,” said the Blues boss, who takes his side to Sutton Coldfield Town on Saturday.
“We need to sit back and look and what we’d been doing right, what we’d done that meant we’d only lost once and were eighth in the table.
“We’ve got to remember the basics are important, especially work ethic and I’m sure we’ll start putting points on the board again.
“We’ve had two tough away games and Witton before that were fourth when we played them.
“We’ve played six of the top eight I think but if we want to be at the right end of the table we’ve got to compete with these teams.
“We’re not beating ourselves up saying we’re not good enough but we know we need to improve.
“We’ll talk about it and look at what we were doing right and what we’re not doing now.”
The last few days have highlighted for Lancaster, who sit 11th in the table with games in hand, the difference between life in the Premier Division and First Division North.
“Last year we had to be at it in the main to get a result,” said Brown.
“But in some games you could be a bit below par and pinch three points.
“This year it’s not going to work that way.
“We were well below par on Tuesday and we weren’t just beaten we were beaten 5-1.
“Last year that might have been a 2-0 or a 2-1.
“We’ve got to be at it or we’ll get punished.
“There’s no halfway house. We’ve got to work hard and meet the intensity of the game.
“They’re the basic demands and we can then kick on from there.”
Brown has said he could make a new signing ahead of the weekend with changes to the line-up guaranteed in the West Midlands.
“I might have to bring one or two in,” said the Blues boss.
“There will be changes for Saturday and I could also bring someone in from outside.
“That’s for me to ponder ahead of the game.”