MANAGER Mark Yates has demanded that his Kidderminster Harriers players be brave enough to stick to their attacking principles.
Yates was furious with his troops after they were outplayed by Tamworth in Bank Holiday Monday’s Midlands derby defeat.
Harriers’ manager felt his side failed to keep the faith with the system that worked so well and yielded victories in the Blue Square Premier against Grays and Altrincham.
With home Conference clashes against Eastbourne on Saturday and Mansfield on Tuesday night (7.45pm kick-off), Harriers have a chance to redeem themselves after their poor display in Staffordshire.
“Players need to be brave and be men,” commented Yates.
“We have make sure we can stick to our style of play and not let teams dictate to us.
“Against Tamworth we didn’t play well and apart from John Finnigan, we tried to play the ball forward and rush things.
“We didn’t pass the ball as well as we normally do and we didn’t move Tamworth around and it was easy for them to defend.
“We didn’t play to our best and then conceded two sloppy goals in the second half and even though we had a go at the end it wasn’t enough.
“I’ve spoken to the players about the performance but some of the answers I’ve got back don’t make sense to me.”
Defeat means Harriers are mid-table and currently labelled a dangerous but so far inconsistent side.
The Aggborough outfit have shown glimpses of their capabilities against Grays and Altrincham but have also slipped up with poor showings against Tamworth and Salisbury.
Harriers’ manager refused to blame the squad’s relative youth as the reason for that problem.
He said: “We fancied our chances of going to Tamworth and getting something but we let ourselves down.
“It’s easy to say we are inconsistent because we’re a young side but that’s no excuse.
“I know that sometimes players can not play to their best but I don’t expect the whole team to be.
“We’ve got to make sure we pick up points week-in, week-out because we’re good enough to get into the leading pack.
“If we don’t do it now then we’ll be playing catch-up for the rest of the season.
“We’ve got home games against Eastbourne and Mansfield to put things right and get back on track.”
Harriers have a few minor injury concerns for the visit of Eastbourne at the weekend.
Centreback Gavin Caines has a sore knee, while right-back Duane Courtney also played on Monday with a knock, but both are expected to be available.
Robbie Matthews, who has not featured for the last three games because of a groin strain, is also edging towards fitness. Meanwhile, Kyle Hadley is expected to overcome the sore groin that ruled him out of Monday.
“We’ll check Robbie’s fitness today and we’re hopeful he’s going to be okay,” said Yates.
“Otherwise, we’ve got a few little niggly injuries that should be alright for Eastbourne.”