WREXHAM manager Brian Carey must feel as though he is taking one step forward and two back after watching his side slump to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday.
Although he is likely to have long-term absentees Neil Roberts and Mark Jones available for next Saturday’s visit to Peterborough United, the Dragons will be without the suspended Ryan Valentine and Chris Llewellyn as a result of the cautions they picked up during the game.
And with the pair away on international duty this week, and joined by goalkeeper Mike Ingham and defenders Steve Evans and Mike Williams, any remedial work on the training ground in the days ahead is going to be of limited benefit.
The crestfallen Dragons boss offered no excuses for a lame performance by his team. “It was very disappointing,” he said.
“That’s the first game I can say the players weren’t with us and they need to have a good look at themselves. The two goals we conceded were dreadful basic errors and were things we’ve talked about. I’m devastated with the result because they didn’t turn up today.”
Defeat pushed Wrexham into the bottom two and Carey admitted he was at a loss to understand what had gone wrong. “Today was just a very poor show, and we have to be realistic about the fact our form has not been good and the danger of dropping into the relegation places was always there,” he added.
“We are in a battle and it’s going to be a tough fight so the players should realise what is at stake and I’m baffled why the spirit was not there today.
“Generally the players are up for it, but they are not robots and it was one of those days.
“I can only apologise today for the lack of passion and enthusiasm, which was just not acceptable.
“But I’ve been a player myself, it happens sometimes and you can’t explain it, to be honest. Our last four performances had a bit of spark, but the players now have to go again. I have been in the game long enough to know if you linger on a result like this it can drag you down. We need to think about this performance for a couple of hours and start again on Monday.”
It was not until Wycombe goalkeeper Ricardo Batista was sent off in the 62nd minute that the home side awoke from their stupor, much to Carey’s frustration.
“I don’t really know what happened,” he said. “It appeared that the keeper kicked the ball into the crowd. But why should it take something like that to get us going? Why can’t they be like that from the off. There was a change of mindset because the crowd had nothing whatsoever to get excited about today and it took the sending off to gee everyone up.”
Central defender Evans accepted his share of responsibility for Wycombe’s opening goal, saying: “I was very disappointed with the performance. For the first goal the lad got over the top of me, which is one of those things, but I don’t normally let anyone get above me. As for their second goal, it came from a cross and we should have cut it out.”
Evans, who joined up with Wales yesterday ahead of tomorrow’s friendly international against Northern Ireland added: “I’m a bit down at the moment but I’m looking forward to it and once I get down there I’ll be chuffed to be part of it.”