Eastwood Town player/manager Chris Shaw says he continues to be encouraged by his young squad’s progress despite relegation being imminent.
Shaw is planning ahead for next season given the Badgers’ perilous position at the bottom of the table, with the remaining games effectively becoming an extended pre-season as he assesses what’s required for the expected drop to Division One South.
And while he is adamant his side will never give up in terms of trying to avoid relegation, Shaw knows he has to be realistic.
He said: “The players are working so hard and giving me 100 per cent all the time, and you can’t ask for a lot more than that.
“Obviously the quality of the squad as a whole is dictating that, at this level, we’re perhaps lacking, but having said that there have been some really encouraging performances.”
Falling into that bracket would be the defeats to Stafford Rangers and Frickley Athletic over the last week, from which Shaw felt his side deserved much more reward.
He said: “I felt we were the better team in both games.
“On Saturday, on a terrible pitch, we went in 0-0 at half-time and looked on top having missed some good chances.
“We addressed things in the second half and largely got things right, but then two shots on target did us.
“We took the positives from that into Tuesday and should have been a couple of goals up at half-time as we again bossed things.
“We kept the pressure on but then they had one shot and scored one goal, and when you’re down the bottom it’s sod’s law that happens.
“We can’t buy a win at the moment which is a shame because the lads deserve one.
“They love football and most want to be with us next season.
“I’m still learning and it’s much easier when everyone puts in the effort that they are, so I believe next season we can have a much more successful year.”
Shaw added former Derby County right-back Jason Beardsley to his squad this week, the second spell the defender has had at Coronation Park having also played under Paul Cox.