BOBBY Williamson admitted his players were suffering from a crisis of confidence after watching Chester City fall to their fifth defeat in seven matches on Saturday.
The Blues lost 1-0 at home to relegation-threatened Mansfield Town at the Deva Stadium to slip further off the pace in the race for promotion.
City boss Williamson said: “Confidence can get lost very, very quickly and it’s looking that way with some players. I’m disappointed that they can’t be man enough to accept that and get on with the game and play football. But we’ll pick these guys up and we’ll go again next week.”
Mansfield hadn’t won on their travels in League Two all season and went into Saturday’s game on the back of a 4-0 hammering by Wycombe Wanderers last Tuesday.
The Blues rarely tested visiting keeper Carl Muggleton and were undone by a goal by Matt Hamshaw four minutes into the second period.
Williamson added: “We knew exactly how they would come and go about their business and that’s exactly what they have done.
“We never created as much as we would have liked and we never showed any urgency. I’m disappointed for the fans and disappointed for the players themselves because they can play better than that.
“It was a poor goal to give away, anyway you look at it. I’ll analyse it again later and hopefully we can learn from it.”
Chester’s promotion challenge has stalled in recent weeks and their bad run has coincided with the loss of a clutch of senior players to injury and suspension.
Tony Dinning, John Murphy and Nathan Lowndes are all sidelined, but Tony Grant is close to a return from a hamstring injury and Paul Butler is available for Saturday’s visit to Notts County after serving a one-match ban against Mansfield.
However, Paul Linwood is facing a suspension after picking up his fifth caution of the season against Mansfield – meaning teenage defender Shaun Kelly could keep his place in the side.
Williamson said: “Shaun Kelly has done reasonably well and Kevin Roberts can play in there as well. Hopefully we should have a couple of players back in contention for the Notts County game because we could do with putting someone else in who could freshen us up and take us forward.”