Leamington boss Paul Holleran says he never had any doubt his side would be in a relegation battle this season.
An undefeated October, which included a win over table-toppers Salford City, saw Holleran pick up the National League North Manager of the Month award and lifted Brakes to the fringes of the National League North play-off race.
However, a 1-0 loss at Blyth Spartans made it back-to-back defeats and they now find themselves anxiously looking over their shoulders with only three points separating them from the bottom three.
But Holleran insists the focus has not changed after steeling himself for a survival fight well before the campaign kicked off.
“Don’t think for one second I saw the season any different,” said Holleran.
“From tenth, 11th down to us there are only five points in it.
“If you look at the calibre of sides around us it’s frightening.
“They are all spending money. Gainsborough and Southport were buying players last week and it’s going to be hard work.
“Look at the teams that were relegated last season. Big teams. Altrincham went down and Worcester.
“But we’re right in the thick of it.”
Brakes entertain play-off-chasing Spennymoor tomorrow before taking on Curzon Ashton in the FA Trophy and Holleran knows his side needs to cut out the lapses in concentration which led to the defeats at Boston United and Blyth.
“The frustrating thing is that we played well on Saturday.
“We limited a Blyth side who had been scoring goals for fun to not one shot on target in the 90 minutes.
“But as good as we were as a unit we switched off for one second at a set play and were punished and that is the lesson we need to learn in this league.
“The best chance in open play came to us and we didn’t take it.
“As an away performance there was not a lot wrong with it. We shaded possession and had four chances to their two but we have to come away with something.
“It should have been a clean sheet and a point as it’s massively important to keep the points tally ticking over.”
Brakes welcome back Jack Edwards and Kieran Dunbar tomorrow after the duo missed the trip to Blyth through injury and suspension, respectively.