Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
Louis Axcell is backing his Maltby Main players to get back to winning ways after a dip in form.
Maltby – who host Barton Town at Muglet Lane tomorrow – have lost two (Albion Sports and Bottesford Town) and drawn one (Thackley) of their last three league games.
The 3-0 defeat at Bottesford last Saturday was the worst performance of the three matches.
However, Axcell is unfazed and expects his squad to turn their form around.
“If you took our performances and results from start of the season to now and averaged them out, we’re still doing quite well,” Axcell told Non League Yorkshire.
“We have a small squad and we’ve still got the players we started with.
“I said to the players at training on Wednesday night that you don’t automatically become a bad side in a week of football.
“Sometimes the easy option is to make wholesale changes and bring in loads of new players.
“But I trust the players we have got, that’s why we have got them.
“We’re clearly capable because of the results and performances we have had in the first couple of months.
“Against Albion and Thackley, for the vast majority of those games we played well and the effort levels were there.
“I can’t make wholesale changes after one poor performance (against Bottesford).
“That would be far too ruthless and unproductive.
“I trust the players completely and I have every confidence in the lads.”
Although Axcell is refusing to blame injuries, Maltby were without key men Morgan James, Ben Algar and Connor Cutts at Bottesford.
Maltby are seventh and Axcell feels his men are still in a good position.
“We haven’t had the best couple of weeks,” he said.
“To be honest last Saturday (against Bottesford) was probably the only game when I thought our effort and performance levels were unacceptable.
“We deserved everything we got on the day.
“We were a bit unlucky in the other games and the effort and commitment has been there.
“We put in a really good performance against Bury in the FA Vase when we lost on penalties which adds an ‘l’ to the performance lines.
“We’re not the only club (having a dip).
“Like I said in my first interview at the start of the season, everyone at some point is going to drop points.
“Everybody seem to be beating everybody.
“A couple of teams have put good runs together but we’re not far off.
“With the start we had we’re still in a reasonable position – obviously we’re disappointed with a couple of results but that’s the nature of the beast.
“It is no excuse for last week but we haven’t had the best of luck with injuries – I think it is grin and bear it and trust the process.”
Running away with it at the top are Grimsby Borough who have a seven point lead over second-placed Eccleshill United who have a game-in-hand.
Although Grimsby are unbeaten too, Axcell remains convinced the race for the title is wide open.
“(Grimsby Borough manager) Dan (Barrett) has a good young squad and they play a good brand of football so it is not a surprise to me (that they are on a good run),” he said.
“It is always a tough place to go and they are always good on their travels.
“At some point will they have a little dip like Sherwood and we have?
“Eccleshill have put a really good run together, Bottesford are picking up good results and have pushed their way right up the table.
“We’re gone from after two or three weeks when people thought they’d be four or five teams (up there) to seven, eight or nine teams.
“It can only be good for the neutral and good for the league that so many teams are fighting.
“It shows you that if you don’t prepare right that no matter who you are playing, you’re in for a struggle.”
Since Axcell last spoke to Non League Yorkshire, long-serving chairman Wilf Race has stood down from his post.
“Since I have been at the club Wilf has been at the helm and I’ve had a positive relationship with him,” Axcell added.
“From a personal point of view and I told Wilf this, I’m disappointed because he’s a top bloke because he puts his heart and soul into Maltby and he always has done.
“I have a lot of respect for him and his decision and I wish him well in his spare time now.
“He’s been down to the majority of the games since he stepped down and I’m sure we’ll see him all season.”