NEIL PRINCE admits he will consider it “failure” if Bootle fail to gain promotion this season, as he looks to add a striker to his ranks this week.
The Bucks slumped to their second defeat in three games as they went down 2-1 to Wigan Robin Park on Saturday, with Prince dismayed by his side's second-half capitulation after a bright start.
They remain in a strong position in the North West Counties League’s Premier Division, within touching distance of the leaders with plenty of games in hand.
But with fixtures set to pile up due to postponements, and with competition fierce within the division, Prince is taking nothing for granted.
“It is going to be tough,” he said.
“If we play and if we are focused, we can run over any team in the league.
“But if we aren't at it, then we can come unstuck.
“We've dropped points against teams we should have beaten this season.
“For me, I've always said that this group of players is the best Bootle has ever had.
“And if we don't achieve promotion with them this season, then myself and (assistant) James (Olsen) will see it as a failure. That's the challenge now for us.
“Can we respond to the defeats? The players need to look at themselves and make sure their attitudes are spot on.
“That goes for the players who have the shirt, and the players who don't.”
Prince added: “It was a strange day on Saturday.
“We were in control of the game in the first half without threatening too much. But it has become a common theme with us, starting slowly after half-time, and we need to iron it out.
“We gave away two goals to individual errors, and that cost us.
“Wigan can play to be fair, and they broke well on us at 2-0.
“We had a few chances but we weren't at it in the second-half.”
Prince is eager to ensure there is no over-reaction to what was only a third league defeat of the season.
He does, however, concede that there is a need to add a proven goalscorer to his ranks.
“It's something we're definitely lacking,” he said.
“I think (midfielder) Jamie Hay is our top scorer now with eight goals, we don't have anyone in double figures.
“It's something we need to rectify.
“I'm working on bringing somebody in who I think will make a real difference to us. We have a lot of endeavour and a lot of creativity in the side, but too few with that goal-scoring instinct. That's something we can hopefully sort.”
Bootle travel to Alsager Town on Saturday, with Prince expecting a fully fit squad to choose from.
Both Sean Coulton and Danny O'Connor, who have had fitness issues recently, are back and firing.