Ramsbottom United are without a win in their last six games, have been knocked out of the FA Trophy and have crashed to 12th in the NPL West Division table.
In that time, they have scored just two goals – one from the penalty spot and the other a header from Steve Hoy in the 2-1 Trophy loss at Pickering Town last Saturday.
So, what is happening? Why, having won four games in a row and scoring 17 goals in the process, has our form subsided to this point?
Club captain Tom Kennedy, a player who has seen highs and lows in league and non-league football, looks at the situation at the club in this exclusive interview with the new club website.
“I think things have been a bit unsettled of late,” he feels. “We have had some injuries, players leaving and, of course, the run of form we have been in doesn’t help that.
“The feeling in the dressing room is one of frustration at the moment but I don’t think, barring the Bootle game and one other, that we have played that badly. We have given away some goals at bad times and not put away our chances, that’s football sometimes. They call it the beautiful game, but it can be a cruel game as well.
“We all want to do well but this is a transitional time for the club with new players coming in where we need to get them to buy into the club philosophy. It is a case of trying to be patient and sticking to the process.
“We get that one win and then it all escalated but it is getting that one win and that’s the frustrating bit, where there has been a bit of confusion with regards to the personnel changes and trying to get those 11 lads who want to buy into that Rammy way.
“The one thing that is certain though is that we are 100% committed to the cause and we love the gaffer, and we want to do well for him and for the club.
“Diego was always the man we wanted to take charge if Chris left because he is so passionate about the job, he knows us, he knows the club, he wants to do well. We want him to do well.”
We asked Tom about the changes in the squad, which has seen five new signings and five changes to the starting XI from the Leek Town defeat to the Trophy game with Pickering on Saturday.
“When you are on a good run, you get guys buying in to what you are trying to do the injuries and changes that we have had to make have made the team unsettled and that’s part of the ups and downs on non-league football.
“But we cannot make those excuses and we need those lads who have been here for the last three to four years to get these newer lads to buy in fully. However, in every aspect of the game, it doesn’t really matter about personnel in the side – if you win your first and second balls, you will tend to win the game. That’s just the basics of football and that is what we are trying to get back to.
“It is not about the standard of player. I have played with loads of players who are better than me, across league and non-league football. But if that person isn’t buying into the system and just doing their own thing, then you are not going to get anywhere with them.
“That is not something we have at Rammy. We play for the shirt. There are no primas here, no attitudes, we just go and play the game, enjoy ourselves and most of the time, get the result. At the moment though, the players haven’t performed but we know that the manager and the coaches are on the right track to take us forward.”
Asked whether there is a confidence issue in the squad, especially with regards to the lack of goals, he admitted that there was. “Yes, there is and that affects everyone. If you lose a few games, it affects you. We are not getting the rub of the green sometimes and then find teams scoring against us.
“We are probably lacking a number nine, but like in every aspect of football, you can’t just go out onto the street and pick one who is going to score you 20 goals a season. We are currently asking players to play out of position which isn’t ideal. Domaine has been asked to do it and he has done a great job, but he is really a midfielder.
“One thing that we want everyone to know is that we are working hard for each other, and our luck will turn.”
Much like Prescot Cables did when they defeated the Rams to turn their season around, Tom pinpoints that match as the turning point in the opposite direction for his side.
“I think that was the defining moment. We should have won that game and it was a real banana skin for us. They put in a gritty performance, they needed to as they were bottom of the league, but we still expected to beat them, so not to do so was a bit of a shock.
“Things can change quickly as they proved that day. And we know that Saturday’s game with Runcorn is a big one for us as it is a chance for us to turn the tide.
“We might need to ride our luck a bit but if we work hard and try and find that formula for success, then we can get a result there. It won’t be easy; they are a very decent side, but we must start somewhere.
“With 11 players all buying into the philosophy, then we can improve. We are constantly trying to find players from under rocks, those who will improve us and push us back up the table to a position that we know we should be.
“We accept that a few of the performances recently have gone by the wayside. We have gone out there with a puff of smoke but that is not the way we do things at Ramsbottom United.
“But we hope that the supporters know that we have been training hard, working hard and going back to the basics to who we are.”
The game with eighth placed Runcorn Linnets on Saturday is a crucial one to stop the recent run. “We ask the supporters to continue to get right behind us and give the players and the manager their full support.”