Jamie Vermiglio admits he faces the toughest challenge of his football career as he tries to cajole his Chorley team back to winning ways – and away from relegation danger.
To say the Magpies have endured a baptism of fire in the National League after winning promotion last season would be an understatement to say the least.
The men from Victory Park have won just once in the league all season and sunk to the bottom of the table in midweek.
The Magpies’ season arguably hit its lowest point on Tuesday night when they were beaten 4-0 at home by fellow strugglers Ebbsfleet United, who swiftly leapfrogged them in the table.
“Without doubt this is my toughest time in football as a player and as a manager,” said Vermiglio. “Last season, the challenge was to get promoted –the challenge this season is ultimately to stay in the league.
“The immediate challenge is to get a couple of wins on the board and we are working really hard to do that.”
Last season Chorley rode a crest of a wave to promotion and confidence was high that they would be able to push on again in the top flight of non-league football. However, Vermiglio and his players have certainly been dealt a few harsh realities over the first few months of the season about being a part-time set-up competing against full-time operations.
“It’s 100% more difficult this division,” he said. “The players we are coming up against are more ruthless – it’s clear to see.
“We played Spennymoor from the division below in the FA Cup a few weeks ago and no disrespect to them, they could have gone on and won the game but they didn’t.
“It’s a totally different type of game in the National League. If you were at the game the other night against Ebbsfleet, you would have seen in the first half we could have been three or four up.
“We are just having a tough time putting the ball in the back of the net at the moment.”
The old cliche says that winning becomes a habit – but losing also becomes a habit and Vermiglio admits there is some semblance of truth to that statement.
“Last season, the first 10 or 15 games, every penalty we claimed got given, every goal against us got ruled out for offside. When you’re near the bottom, you’re scraping and scrapping for everything. All we can do as a management team is be positive and try to give the players belief.”
Vermiglio was hoping to land two new signings ahead of his team’s trip to Barnet this weekend.
Captain Andrew Teague may not be available as he continues to manage his injury. Scott Leather is making progress but unlikely to figure.
Striker Marcus Carver should come back in after missing Tuesday due to his partner giving birth to his son. Adam Blakeman is a doubt with a knock to his ankle.