Padiham boss Steve Wilkes has challenged his players to roll their sleeves up and dig deep to help push the club up the North West Counties Premier Division table.
The Storks are currently 17th, just eight points off the drop zone, following defeat to Runcorn Town at the Pavilions Sports Complex.
Wilkes accepts that the club’s position is far from ideal, but the Arbories chief brushed off the threat of a second-successive relegation.
“We are better than this,” he said. “We’ve got to start winning football matches, because the reality is that we’re sixth from bottom.
“I don’t think we’ll get dragged into it, but there’s always that chance if we don’t pick up points.”
Following the 2-0 loss at Sandy Lane, where the Storks lifted the championship trophy in 2013, Wilkes added: “We were really poor from one to 11.
“We just lacked quality and our silly errors were punished.
“It was a heavy pitch so we needed to turn them, play the percentage game and be a bit ugly, but we tried to play, which wasn’t possible.
“Maybe we’re too nice, but we need to roll our sleeves up now and get stuck in.
“We need to learn how to mix things up a bit, because players are always in your face at this level, there are tackles flying in left, right and centre, and you don’t get time on the ball.
“We’ve got to start putting a shift in.
“We haven’t won any of our local derbies this season and I think that says everything you need to know.
“I want to see that they’ve got something under their shirts. I want to see their heart beating.”
Wilkes is hoping to put the frustration of defeat to Simon Burton’s side behind him when Maine Road visit the Arbories tomorrow (kick-off 3 p.m.).
With Padiham unbeaten in their last three league outings on home soil, Wilkes said: “For the first time ever I didn’t go in to the bar after the game at the weekend.
“I just got into my car and went home. That was how annoyed I was.
“It was the first time in 19 years that I’d done that.”
Wilkes, who has put seven days on an unnamed right back in the division, added: “We’ve not won yet in 2016 and that’s something we need to address.
“We need to win two or three games back-to-back now.
“We’ve got games coming up that we need to win.”