When Robbie Mason was appointed Soham Town Rangers’ player-manager in December, he set his sights on the Ryman League Division One North’s top 10.
The Greens were 15th at the time, but were within touching distance of those in the higher echelons of the table.
However, the task in hand has proven to be a tough one for Mason and his charges, who are yet to taste victory under their new bosses’ stewardship — losing seven of 10 outings.
It has resulted in a dramatic plummet towards the relegation zone, with Soham now just four points above third-from-bottom Brentwood Town.
And ahead of Saturday’s home encounter with 17th-placed Heybridge Swifts (3pm), Mason is under no illusions that wins — by any means — are needed, quickly.
“On the whole, performances have not been bad. We have not had the rub of the green or taken our chances,” said the Soham chief.
“But, the bottom line is we have not picked up enough points and we need to be aware of the situation we are in.
“Teams around us have been picking up points in recent weeks and we have to start doing the same.
“The next month is critical for us — it will determine our season.
“At this stage the wins do not have to be pretty or easy on the eye. The sooner we realise that, the better.”
Mason’s job has not been helped by the departures of seven players to Cambridge City, managed by previous Soham supremo Robbie Nightingale.
Winger Darren Foxley is the latest to have linked up with the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division side, after scoring four goals from his 33 appearances this term.
Having seen his squad decimated in such a short period of time, Mason has conceded it has had an impact on those that remain.
“It was hard to lose Foxy. He was one of our best players this season,” said Mason.
“He is a young lad who wants to make a go of it and I would never hold anyone back.
“It has affected some of the other lads. Some of them were wondering what they are still doing here.
“We have had to have conversations and spell out what we are trying to do here, even if the situation does not look good right now. Hopefully things will settle down now and we can move on as a unit.”