Southport manager Liam Watson has admitted that there will be a shift in their recruitment for next season as he looks to pick up the win against Bradford Park Avenue.
It’s been a disappointing week for the Sandgrounders as they suffered back-to-back home defeats to Gloucester City and Banbury United.
They were edged out on Saturday by the playoff chasers but a second-half collapse handed the Puritans the win after Joe Adams inadvertently diverted an off-target shot beyond Tony McMillan.
Watson has set out the target of ending the season positively starting on Good Friday in their away trip to the National League North strugglers.
Outlining the ambitions for next season, he told Off The Park: “We battered them all game, the second goal isn’t even going in but it is what it is. We need to win games but we’re not in a position where we need to panic, it’s testing times and been stressful for everyone at the club.
“We need to get positive results between now and the end of the season then we need to strengthen. Over the last couple of years we have gone down the line of developing, you still want to develop, but we still need a stronger team because I don’t think the league will be as strong next year, there’s potential of Fylde winning the league and the teams around the playoffs are much of a much.
“Kings Lynn and Chester are the two best teams after Fylde, you’re going to lose a few with relegation so I don’t think the league will be as strong as it was last year but the big thing is, everyone is looking for the same.
“We’re all looking for a forward and if you have a 20-goal-a-season forward and if you have that you’re challenging at the top end.
“I thought there was some really good individual performances,” the Southport manager added on their midweek defeat. “Tyler Walton got man-of-the-match, deservedly so, Joe Adams was very good, Jack Doyle looks as good and as strong as I’ve seen him since he’s been at the club.
“It was great to have Jordan on the pitch, scored a great goal and shows how much we miss him.
“They didn’t deserve what happened to them but that’s what happens, every week there is something else recently. Crowd trouble, protests, it’s been non-stop and it doesn’t make it a nice environment for the lads to play in either.
“Last year, fans got applauded and rightly so for the atmosphere they were creating but it’s gone the complete opposite way now, I’ve never seen it like this. The only way you can answer is strengthening the squad, get a stronger team which will get better results which will make you challenge at the top end of the table.”
Friday’s trip to Horsfall Stadium marks a busy period for the Yellows as they go on their travels before hosting playoff contenders Chester on Easter Monday – in what is set to be a massive game for both sides.
But Watson says that their focus is on one game at a time and that is starting with Bradford Park Avenue on Friday where they will go ‘all out’.
He added: “[The expectation is] To win, that’s it. If we perform like we did on Tuesday we win the game, there will be no looking out for Chester, we’re all full out for Bradford.
“I don’t think I’ve had any trouble lifting them, the hardest one was lifting them after Marine,” he said on whether the squad need lifting after the manner of their recent disappointments.
“The other thing is we’ve got other players in the team looking at what they’re going to do moving forward with the team.
“We’re actively working on transfers in now, that’s positive, I won’t have any issues lifting them. On the pitch, you just want things to go right and confidence is amazing, someone scores one they go get two, three, four, I fully expect Jordan to hit the goal trail from now on.”
Telford United were confirmed as the first National League North club relegated last week and for Friday’s opponents, anything other than a win could see their ill-fate sealed too.
“A draw is no good for Bradford, they have to come try to beat us, if they beat us fair play. But they’re going to have to come and open up,” Watson concluded.