BASINGSTOKE Town manager Jason Bristow issued his failing squad with an ultimatum after watching them crash out of the FA Trophy at AFC Totton.
The Camrose club were outfought, outplayed and embarrassed by the Southern League outfit at the Testwood Stadium on Saturday.
The final 3-0 scoreline was an accurate reflection of Totton’s dominance, especially in the second half and despite the hosts having a man sent off 25 minutes before the end of the game.
Bristow said: “I would like to apologise to the fans because that performance was nowhere near acceptable.
“One thing that I wanted to instil when I took charge was that we would never put on a performance like that. We lacked energy and commitment.
“I have asked the players whether they want to be here and fight for the cause. I want to see what reaction I get because certain individuals have not been up to scratch all season.
“Some players are living off what they did last season and the next couple of games will be crucial for them. It is quite possible that I will have to move players on if things do not improve.
“My job is on the line if things do not change and we have got to do something about it. I am the lowest man in the world right now because our club and supporters should not be going through what they are going through.
“I feel responsible and it is up to me to get us out of this hole. It’s a massive test and I appreciate people’s support and patience.”
Bristow will be hoping to see a dramatic improvement tonight, when Basingstoke return to Blue Square Bet South action with a trip to Boreham Wood (kick-off 7.45pm). The Hertford-shire side are fourth in the table after winning four and losing just one of their last seven league games.
“I think it is important that we get back on the pitch and put Saturday’s performance behind us as soon as possible, but it is going to be a very tough game,” Bristow said. “Boreham Wood are on an incredible run so it is time for people to stand up and be counted.”
Town will welcome back striker Tim Sills, who missed the trip to Totton through suspension, but midfielders Shaun McAuley and Wes Daly are doubts after picking up hip and hamstring injuries respectively on Saturday.
Defender Ross Adams will miss out – but a scan on his knee has revealed a stress fracture rather than ligament damage.
See The Monday Gazette for a full report from Saturday’s game.