Bradford (Park Avenue) interim manager Marcus Law says he plans on using this week to make some changes in personnel after a fourth defeat in five matches this season.
Law, who replaced Garry Thompson just two games into the campaign, oversaw the side’s first point of the season last week with a 1-1 draw at Gateshead, but any work was undone on Saturday with a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Alfreton Town.
“It didn’t get off to the best of starts,” Law said. “We got here and our centre half Nelson (Digbeu) has broken down, meaning we had to bring in Ryan Cresswell earlier than we probably wanted to.
“At the end of the day, he’s missed 10 days without training or playing due to family reasons, which in the grand scheme of things are much more important.
“We’ve had to throw him in there, and in fairness to him he’s not done much wrong, he was a bit off the pace, but that was going to happen, I can’t put him at fault.
“Ultimately, they’ve had a penalty, an own goal and two bad backpasses, and it’s 4-0. That says everything about what this group is at the moment.
“There’s some naivety, some bad decision making, and that’s what’s hurting them.”
Two of Alfreton’s goals came from underhit backpasses, including the opener which came against the run of play.
“I’ve said to them after the game that it’s not their fault they’ve been put together,” Law said. “This is a very young side, and ultimately there’s a core who really need to be pitching at three or four to learn and develop.
“It’s just a bit too much for them, and it’s hurting the players who are of this level and who are good enough.
“Elliott Holmes, Alex Hurst, Isaac Marriott, there’s players there, and they need support to play at this level, but at the moment they’re just not getting it.
“We’ve had some committed performances, but it’s just the quality and the know-how that is lacking. Fortunately we’ve got a week ahead where we can move some things around.
“I’ve asked the lads to be a bit honest, and ask themselves if they are doing themselves justice.
“Some of them lads are doing as much travelling as me, and that’s a worry. I don’t understand why.
“I’m travelling a distance but I’m not playing. Some of the squad are matching that, and they just need to be playing in and around their area, they should be no more than an hour away.
“Again, it’s not their fault, they’ve all been whacked on contracts which makes me a lot more restricted financially.
“But they’ve just got to be honest and ask themselves; ‘is this the level you can compete at at this moment in time?’
“It’s now up to 18 goals against, with only the one for, and that says a lot.”
With a rare midweek free of action early in the season, Law revealed he has arranged a friendly to take a look at some potential new faces.
“We’ll get through the weekend and have some honest conversations on Monday,” he said. “I’ve arranged a friendly for this week to look at some players in the squad and some I’d like to bring in.
“It’s difficult to bring in players when you’ve got so many on contract, but I think that it’s an honest enough group, all of whom just want to be playing.
“We’ll certainly help the players as much as we can, but there’s got to be a bit of humanity about it all, we don’t want to make life difficult for people as it’s not their fault.
“I’ve worked in the National League and I didn’t even have that many players on contract then. I’m still getting my head round why what’s happened has happened.
“I don’t think it’s the owner’s fault, I think they’ve gone from one extreme to the other in terms of an over inflated budget to a very restricted one, and then adding all the players on contract within that restriction.
“So we want to protect the core that have something about them, and that we can develop, and have some honest conversations amongst the group, and have a week where we can make some changes.”
Despite the scoreline, Avenue did have their moments at North Street with an Akeem Hinds strike ruled out for offside before Rod Orlando-Young sliced wide early in the second half.
“We actually started the game very brightly,” the interim boss said. “Then we had the goal ruled out which was a matter of inches.
“All in all, we have got some very nice footballers, who have been educated through the academy system.
“The side competed on Tuesday at Gateshead because of the way they play, pretty on the eye, trying to open play up, and that suited us.
“Alfreton are a different beast. They are no nonsense, very experienced non-league team, who make good decisions due to their know-how.
“That shows you the gulf in terms of the education that this side is missing, we just haven’t competed.
“Yes, we’ve played good football and we had the offside goal, and another great chance at 2-0 which could have changed things, but again, a more experienced player probably puts that away.
“Of course it’s going to be difficult to attract players and find the ones that suit what we need, but I’m not going to shy away from the challenge.
“I’m not going to make excuses, I’m not going to blame anyone, the situation is what it is, but the decision making in the past has made our job very hard, but we’ve got to get on with it, and that’s what we’ll do.”