Morecambe manager Jim Bentley admits his players face another tough task if they are to snap their losing streak this weekend.
The Shrimps welcome League Two leaders Plymouth Argyle to the Globe Arena on Saturday, looking to end a four-game losing run in league and cup.
Tuesday’s 2-1 loss at Crewe Alexandra saw them drop to 20th in the table, two points off the relegation places and with the division’s worst goal difference.
However, Argyle make the trip north on the back of two home defeats in four days following losses to Grimsby Town and Barnet.
“Hopefully we will try and improve in all areas on Saturday,” Bentley said.
“There will be no feeling sorry for ourselves. I’m looking forward to the next challenge.
“We’re having a difficult time, we know that, but we’ve battled, we’ve competed and shown a lack of know-how, a lack of quality as a group and that can happen.
“It’s stuck against us at the minute but I don’t want the sympathy vote.
“I know where we need to improve and, hopefully, in five weeks’ time, we’re in a position to do that.”
The on-field downturn in results comes at the worst possible time for club morale.
Having led the table in August, the Shrimps have lost seven in a row at home in the league and have not scored a League Two goal at the Globe Arena since September.
Those results, coupled with last month’s late wage payment and the departure of Tom Barkhuizen, are unwanted headaches for the manager.
Bentley said: “Rhys Turner is coming along nicely and took his goal well – that’s a positive we can take. We aren’t getting steamrollered but we’re talking about fine lines. We keep shooting ourselves in the foot at both ends.
“It’s frustrating but we remain positive, we’ll keep going, we’ll keep battling, keep focused and improve on the pitch.”
Bentley’s selection options have narrowed further for Saturday with Jack Dunn’s six-month loan spell cut short by six weeks.
The Liverpool striker netted a hat-trick in only his second outing for the club, August’s 5-4 victory at Rotherham United in the EFL Cup.
He scored three further goals after that, making him their second-top scorer with six goals this season behind Cole Stockton (10).
Regular appearances have proved hard to come by in recent weeks. He had not started a league game since the defeat to Crawley Town on September 24, with his only starting roles since coming in the Checkatrade Trophy.
Bentley said: “For one reason or another it hasn’t worked out as we would have wanted in recent weeks so we feel at this stage it is best for all parties if Jack returns to Liverpool.
“We have a good relationship with the Under-23 staff at Liverpool and we would like to thank them for loaning us Jack for the last four months.”