Forest Green Rovers’ 1-0 defeat at promotion rivals Cambridge United on Saturday will give the New Lawn side a “kick up the bum” according to defender Baily Cargill.
Wes Hoolahan’s first-half strike means Mark Cooper’s side remain third, but now sit four points adrift of League Two table-toppers Cheltenham Town.
Rovers travel to Mansfield on Tuesday evening with the intention of getting back to winning ways, and once again closing the gap to the top two.
The omens are positive too, as they remain one of only a few EFL clubs able to boast the record of not losing back-to-back league games all season.
“That’s a great statistic,” said Cargill. “Obviously no one wants to lose a game, but if you lose a game in the way we did on Saturday it gives you a kick up the bum to go again and have a reaction.
“I know we wanted to win Saturday, of course we did, but I think the performance will give us a reaction to kick us on.”
January signing Cargill had a mixed game at the Abbey Stadium, conceding a penalty 17 minutes in, which Rovers stopper Lewis Thomas saved.
Cargill explained: “It’s just one of them. I’ve given the referee an opportunity to give it, and Mullin is obviously an intelligent player… he’s bought the foul.
“Maybe it wasn’t a penalty… luckily ‘Thommo’ pulled off a great save and saved my blushes a little bit.”
With the season run-in looming, FGR only have automatic promotion in mind.
2017 saw the club promoted to the Football League for the first time in their history, and less than four years later, they’re now eyeing up the third tier.
“It’s been a long season, and we’ve only got 11 games left which will fly by.
We don’t want to be in a position where we’re running out of games. We want to try and make sure we make the most of the games that are coming up. There’s not long left and still loads of points still to fight for.”
The race for promotion is as tight as can be in League Two this season, with only four points separating Rovers in third and Newport County in seventh.
However, Cargill is adamant that his side must keep their heads in the game.
“It’s natural as a player, as a fan, a staff member, as human beings, to look at the table and look at how everyone else got on.
“But at the end of the day, our form and our points are in our hands. We’re in a good position, and we have to focus on ourselves and not worry about other results or rely on other teams.”
“If we win our games then we’ll get promoted.”
Rovers have suffered slightly this season with slow starts to games, often giving themselves unnecessary uphill struggles to earn points.
Cargill recognised this and wants to rectify it going forward.
“It’s important to start games well, something we’ve not been great at as of late, especially Saturday.
“We’ve got to start games faster and come out the traps ready to fight. It’s probably not about the football at the minute, it’s more about the spirit… and showing a bit of pride, and heart.
“Sometimes we take a while to get into the game or react to something negative that’s happened. Our performances need to start off a bit better at the minute.”
Saturday’s defeat would have hurt all involved with the club, but Cargill remains hopeful for the remainder of the season.
“We have to take the positives from the game on Saturday. In the second-half, we showed a bit more fight and a bit more spirit. We created a couple of chances and could’ve come away with a draw, even though we probably wouldn’t have deserved it.
“We can’t look back and think ‘What if, what if?’, we’ve got to take each game as it comes and keep fighting.
“Everything else at the minute is probably down to our fight and hunger, and who wants to win more.”