Seb Hayes is prepared to be ‘horrible’ in Holbeach United’s hunt for honours.
The Tigers boss has warned his players that they can’t afford to produce any poor performances during this season’s title run-in.
He praised the response of Spencer Tinkler, Joe Smith and Luke Avis after they had been dropped from the side in recent weeks.
Mitch Griffiths was left at home for disciplinary reasons as Holbeach won 2-1 away to ON Chenecks last Saturday.
He is expected to be on the substitutes’ bench at Carter’s Park this weekend when the Tigers take on Leicester
Nirvana in the ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division.
I’m now in a privileged position as manager where I can drop players if they are not performing well.Seb Hayes
Hayes said: “I’ve told the lads in training that if they want to win trophies, we can’t accept any bad games now.
“If we have a poor run of results, that’s it – the season is finished.
“We’ve worked hard to get ourselves into this position.
“If anyone has a bad game, they can’t expect to start next time.
“I’m now in a privileged position as manager where I can drop players if they are not performing well.
“We weren’t happy with the performances of Smith and Avis in the home game against Wellingborough Town, so they were on the bench at ON Chenecks.
“It happened to Tinkler in the previous week and they have all responded in the right way, even though they were upset at the time.
“We want to compete to the end of the season so I’m thoroughly prepared to upset more people if it gets the best out of them.
“I’ll keep being horrible if it works. I have a strong bond with the players and the changing room feels like a family, but sometimes you have to punish people. I’m sure they will understand if we get the job done.
“I’ve tried to do things a bit differently by waiting to tell players if they are in the starting line-up.
“They need to earn a place in the team and deliver on the pitch.”
The Tigers needed a stoppage-time winner from Tinkler at ON Chenecks last weekend – two weeks after Charley Sanders’ late goal had earned three points at home to Harborough Town.
Hayes is happy with the defensive efforts but admits that Holbeach must convert more chances.
He said: “We have scored 15 goals in 10 league games and that’s not enough.
“If we score twice in any match, that should take the pressure off.
“The top of the table is so tight that we have to win games.
“We look solid defensively and we haven’t conceded in open play since the defeat to Desborough Town.
“If we do our job, we will keep winning and go above Yaxley with those games in hand.
“They are not our priority at the moment because I can’t see Deeping Rangers and Wisbech Town slipping up. We need to worry about them and Newport Pagnell Town.
“To be honest, I feel sorry for Leicester Nirvana after so many postponements. They were right up there.
“They want the points, not games in hand. But they have reached the Knockout Cup final and they could get back into the title race as well.
“It’s going to be tough for us on Saturday.”
Matt Warfield is banned but Griffiths will be back in the squad.
Hayes said: “It was a risk to leave out our best player but something which had to be done.
“He knows what he did was wrong. He has apologised more than once.
“We made a decision and he needs to earn a place now.”