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Ashford United manager Jason Whitmore wants to see a sharpening of his side's mentality

By Mark Stokes

Jason Whitmore admits Ashford United’s players need to change their mentality if they are to avoid a repeat of the midweek capitulation to South Park. 

The United boss spelt out a few home truths to his players after the 4-0 defeat during which they conceded three goals in nine minutes during the second half at Homelands.

Whitmore said his players simply ‘fell apart’ describing their seventh defeat in 10 Bostik South matches as unacceptable.

Ashford United manager Jason Whitmore (right) Picture Alan Langley

Ashford United manager Jason Whitmore (right) Picture: Alan Langley

He added: “I was pretty down on Tuesday night because of the manner in which the boys fell apart, as soon as the own goal (South Park’s second) went in, they let their shape and discipline go.

“I did have a few words at the end of the game. I told them what I thought, that when they let their heads go down, they’re letting the fans down and that’s unacceptable.

“I don’t want to see a situation where we give away an own goal and then give up, our mentality and demeanour on the pitch was ‘we’re going to lose now'.

“As soon as that second goal went in it was game over for us. That’s the mentality of the boys at the moment and it’s something we need to change.”

A crippling injury list – United had just five first team members available for training last Thursday – has not helped their cause of late, although the boss says the players themselves could do more.

He added: “I’ve got players on the pitch that, at the moment, are nowhere near fit enough. They can’t last 90 minutes.” 

United, 21st in Bostik South, turn their attention to the FA Trophy on Saturday when they host  league rivals Sittingbourne in the preliminary round at Homelands.

The sides have already met once this season, sharing a goalless draw at Woodstock Park in August  – United’s only point on the road this season.

The Brickies have since risen to the top of the table, going clear of Lewes on goal difference after Tuesday’s 1-0 victory at Herne Bay and Whitmore admits his side will start as underdogs.

He added: “Sittingbourne will definitely start as favourites but I’ll be reminding our players how we played against them in the first game. We were by far the better side for 70 minutes. 

“In the last 20 we were probably lucky to come away with a point but it showed what we can do when we have the right attitude.” 

Midfielder Joe Bingham (knee) could return for the Trophy tie having been rated  ‘touch and go’ for the South Park game, while fellow injured duo  Brandon Williams (hip) and George Humber (hamstring) are also in contention.

Whitmore admits he remains keen to strengthen his squad and hopes to bring in at least one new face ahead of the weekend having put in a couple of seven-day approaches for players.

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