Runcorn Linnets manager Dave Wild has called for a response against City of Liverpool after their recent draw with Widnes.
Linnets slipped to third after other results went against them but they are behind Leek Town on goal difference going into the Boxing Day fixture.
Jamie Rainford moved back to the top of the goal scorers chart with his stoppage time equaliser against their rivals, Widnes, on Saturday.
But the Linnets boss is expecting a reaction from his side. He told Off The Park: “We massively let ourselves down on Saturday, the performance was shambolic, everything about it was way below what we are as a group and what we expect as a football club as we move forward.
“These days happen and like I said, it’s a testament to Ello and Crossy for what they did at Widnes, they caused us a lot of trouble and we should’ve lost the game, we’ve openly said that but it’s time for us to show what we’re about and prove our bounce back ability.
“A quick turnaround and time to set the record straight, get the things back in place.
“They won’t want me in the mood that I have been in this week, I can assure you of that,” he added.
City of Liverpool are the visitors to the APEC Taxis Stadium on Monday looking to move out of the bottom four in the Northern Premier League West.
The Purps are above Linnets’ previous opponents on goal difference and Wild is hopeful that the experience will spark a positive performance.
“At the end of the day, it’s a Boxing Day game so it’s always a derby, Paul’s got a good team,” he said. “We played them recently in the cup and it was a tough game for us, they made it very difficult and on another day, it could’ve went to extra-time – we got lucky with the second goal.
“Every game is tough at this level, we’ve got to be absolutely at the races which we weren’t on Saturday so it’s down to us to prep, get things right, in place and we need to be at the races because we’re not letting opportunities slip by us, we need to be on the horse and make sure we get a win.
“I’m not paying attention to anyone, if we win all our games, we win the league it’s as simple as that – obviously we won’t do that – but that’s our mentality,” Wild said on Leek’s rise up the table.
“We play one game at a time and we go to win the game. I don’t really worry about the tale, if you win games, it takes care of itself and we will be where we will be.
“Where you finish is ultimately where you deserve to, that’s my mentality, it’s up to us, we have to hit the second half of the season running. We need to get another 12 wins I think, between 12 and 14, to get us where we want to be.
He added: “They’ll get a response, they don’t need to prove anything to me, they’ve got to prove it to the fans and themselves so there will be a response, don’t worry about that.
Paul McNally’s side return to action for the first time since the start of December, but the Linnets boss doesn’t expect that to play a part in the contest.
He said: “I think they’ll be chomping at the bit, ready to go. We’ve only had that one game, we’ve not really been able to train because of the frozen pitches, I think everyone’s in the same boat and everyone’s as board and frustrated that they’re chomping at the bit.
“I don’t think it matters either way, I’m just glad we’re at home, get a good crowd and get back on track, get ourselves moving, that’s the only aim for this week.”