Longridge chairman Tom Haworth concedes his club are playing catch-up this season in the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division title race.
The Chipping Road outfit finished in runners-up spot last year, just five points behind eventual champions Vernon Carus.
Hopes were high at the start of this campaign that the club could go one better and win the title for the first time since 2004.
But just one win from their opening four games means Ian Simpson’s men are already well behind early frontrunners Garstang, Penwortham and Freckleton, who are at the top of the table.
And Haworth admits his team’s poor start means they do not have much room for manoeuvre if they are to challenge at the top this season.
“We have got off to a shocker,” said Haworth.
“We got hammered in the first game against Great Eccleston – we never competed. In our second game we managed a win over Croston and then the next week, our match was rained off.
“Then last Saturday we were well beaten by Thornton Cleveleys.
“We did okay in the National Knockout competition when we beat Blackpool earlier in the season but then we were knocked out on Sunday at home to Leyland.
“I can’t really put my finger on why we have had a bad start.
“It’s the same team that played last season, apart from one or two slight variations. We are very strong on paper – both our first and second teams.
“I think the second team is top of Division One – they are playing well but the first team have not performed so far, apart from the Blackpool game.
“We were aiming for a good season after last year. We really believed that we could do well.
“But it’s going to be tough after the bad start we’ve had – it’s going to take some recovering to get back up there.
“It’s like any sport, if your confidence takes a knock it can be difficult until you get one or two wins under your belt.”
Despite the tough first few weeks, Haworth believes his men still have the ability to make a challenge.
“Teams like Garstang, who have won all three of their games so far, are quite strong and there’s a fair points difference already between ourselves and them. But we have got to be optimistic and believe that, with the strength that we have got, we can have a good season.”
Tomorrow is a good chance for Longridge to pick up their second league win of the season. They travel to BAC/EE Preston, who have yet to record a victory this season.
In the Northern League Division One, Chorley will be hoping to register their third successive victory when they visit Netherfield.
Preston host Lancaster at West Cliff.