EASTWOOD Town assistant manager Darren Kelk expressed his frustration this week after a pre-season hammering at Coalville Town.
Having showed encouraging signs in a 4-2 defeat at home to Lincoln City on Saturday, the Badgers then lost 5-0 in Leicestershire on Tuesday night to a side who will compete a level below Eastwood next season.
And while pre-season results mean nothing in the grand scheme of things, the nature of the defeat left Kelk angry with his players.
He said: “There were some mitigating circumstances in that we had four or five key players out either through work commitments or because I felt they needed more time to recover from knocks, but quite simply the team we put out was one I felt was good enough to win that game.
“What then occurred gave me a great insight into certain players and confirmed to both myself and John Ramshaw who is suitable for this club and who isn’t.
“Coalville wanted it more than us and we were let down by some dreadful defending, goalkeeping errors and our inability to do the basic things right.
“We didn’t show Coalville any respect and they punished us.
“Friendlies have a purpose and that’s mainly to look at formations, fitness and certain players, but decisions have now been made in terms of who will leave.
“The pre-season squad was large anyway so the lads knew they were fighting to avoid the cut, but now we have to get numbers down to around 18 and then 16 for the opening day against Marine.”
Kelk remains in daily contact with manager John Ramshaw who is currently running his soccer school in the USA.
He added: “John has the final say on everything and is fully aware of all that is happening.
“We had earmarked several problems and discuss things at length over the phone and on e-mail as we try to solve them. He instructs me in terms of game plans and team decisions and is quick to chastise me if he thinks we haven’t done it right!”
Kelk was happier with the performance against Lincoln City on Saturday, with Eastwood’s goals coming from Alex Troke and Fabian Smith .
Former Badger Jake Sheridan netted twice for City who brought a strong side to Coronation Park.
Kelk said: “David Holdsworth (City’s manager) said it was a compliment to us that he brought his strongest side, which shows the respect they had for us - something we lacked on Tuesday.
“We’ve got some players who still think they should be playing in the Conference North but the reality is they’re not.
“It’s not that those who will be leaving are bad players, it’s more that they’re just not suited to this club at this time, and while we still have many players who are showing great effort and desire it’s unfair to keep on those who aren’t matching it.”
Eastwood hosted Scarborough Athletic last night (Thursday) before a trip to Bedworth United on Saturday and a home game with Mansfield Town on Tuesday at 7.45pm.
Kelk said: “We’ll recall those players we couldn’t risk on Tuesday as our pitch is better and won’t be so hard on their injuries.
“With the squad being trimmed I’m hoping for good displays from those we’ve put our faith in.”