HORSHAM manager Hugo Langton all but conceded the club will be relegated - but said the players had a lot to prove between now and the end of the season.
Langton said he was hurt by Saturday’s 5-0 defeat at Concord Rangers which leaves the Hornets rock bottom and 16 points from safety.
A hat-trick from in-form Concord striker Tony Stokes and goals from Sherwin Stanley and Mitch Hahm condemned the visitors to their 21st Ryman Premier defeat of the season and stretched their winless run to 25 matches.
A clearly dejected boss Langton said: “It was very disappointing, that one hurt me because I feel I’ve been let down by the performance.
“The players have been playing with commitment recently, but there was none against Concord, we just weren’t competitive at all.”
And on Horsham’s flickering chances of staying up he said: “I have to be realistic, we are where we are because that’s what we’ve deserved. I’m not being defeatist when I say it looks near impossible for us now (to stay up). But we have 14 games to go and the players have to start proving they belong at this club.
“I don’t want the fans saying ‘oh he’s given up in January’ by saying that because I haven’t, I’ll keep fighting for everything until the last ball is kicked.
“My players have to work harder this week, I have to work harder this week because I refuse to accept mediocrity.”
Langton was at least able to highlight the performances of youngsters Tony Nwachukwu and Dean O’Keefe, who both impressed coming off the bench, but there was little else to savour from Horsham’s fifth 5-0 defeat this season.