Harrogate Town’s “lethargic” midfield have felt the wrath of frustrated manager Simon Weaver and been told enough is enough.
With Town’s season hanging in the balance over the festive period, Weaver criticised “one or two” members for failing to live up to the hype of their summer signature.
Following Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at in-form Tamworth – the club’s third straight defeat – Town dropped down to 14th in Vanarama Conference North, and are just seven points above the relegation zone.
And having suffered their tenth league defeat of the season, the boss said certain players had “run out of excuses”.
Weaver said: “There are one or two that are lethargic looking. We can’t allow it.
“We have grown sick of that lack of commitment and lack of personality on the pitch.
“If was a football fan and I saw a six foot two lad, built well, duck out of headers and tackles, I would be saying that’s not good enough. Twenty games with us is long enough to sense whether a player is up to it or not.”
All action defender Luke Shiels was pushed into a midfield role on Saturday as he partnered summer signing Simon Lenighan and long-time servant Adam Nowakowksi. Fellow central midfielder Luke Dean was amongst the substitutes, while Weaver recalled Lloyd Kerry on the right.
Lenighan has failed to score in 20 appearances for Town since signing from Leeds United, while Saturday’s man of the match Kerry has just one goal in 20 starts.
Weaver added: “We are missing personality in the midfield. The last few years we have had personalities on the pitch but this year, one goal upsets the momentum.
“It’s only one or two of the players, but that’s a large percentage of the team. Excuses have run out.”
Town have already begun rebuilding their midfield and have swooped in for Goole AFC pair Jordan Thewlis and Andy Gascoigne.
Thewlis, a former Scunthorpe United youngster, signed on Monday and Gascoigne – who was sent-off against Harrogate Railway in the Doodson Cup last month - will join on December 28
Weaver believes the Evo-Stik First Division South duo can follow in Shiels’ footsteps and make the step up from two tiers below.
“I want hungry players at the club and they offer something a bit different,” he said. “Luke Shiels has been one of the most impressive players since he has come because of his application. It’s about players rising up to the challenge.”
Thewlis will join the squad for the home Boxing Day clash against rivals Guiseley. Town will then head to league leaders Barrow on Sunday before the reverse with Guiseley on New Year’s Day.
Weaver added: “No one is expecting us to get a point in our next three games. We know a few people have turned their backs on us, but we still believe we can turn it around in these three games.”