*** We just need to update the league position in the second par

BRIGHTLINGSEA Regent manager Tom Rothery says his players should have a mid-table finish in their sights – rather than anxiously looking over their shoulders.

The R’s have dipped to 17th*** in the Bostik League premier division after a painful run of five straight defeats, leaving them with 38 points from their 34 games.

With only one side dropping through the relegation trapdoor, they appear to have done enough already to ensure another year at step three level.

However, Rothery wants his side to make themselves mathematically safe as quickly as possible and gain some much-needed momentum in their final dozen fixtures.

“When I came back, the one thing I wanted was to keep the club in this division,” he told the Gazette.

“That was my remit and if it doesn’t happen, I’d consider it a massive failure.

“However, while not being complacent, I still feel we should be looking upwards rather than over our shoulders, despite the run we’ve been on.

“I still want to finish as high as we can, with as many points on the board as possible.

“Mid-table should still be our goal and it’s massively important we finish with momentum.

“If we don’t, and crawl over the line, it will undoubtedly have an impact next season.

“I want us to do the club proud, play for the badge and produce performances that I consider worthy of Brightlingsea Regent.

“By that I mean playing with high intensity and work-rate.

“There have only been three displays since I came back that have genuinely disappointed me – away to Thamesmead in the Trophy and the league defeats against Tonbridge Angels and Merstham.

“In all the others, we’ve been competitive – usually only losing by a single goal – and it’s always about us, as far as I’m concerned.

“We have to play at our level because when we do, with our best team available, we’re a match for anyone.

“If we produce the goods in enough games, we’ll get the points we need to not only stay safe but ideally finish in mid-table.”

Regent, who started the year by gleaning ten points from a possible 12, prior to losing five on the spin, had no game last weekend following the postponement of their fixture at Staines Town.

They host title-chasing Dulwich Hamlet on Saturday.

“Hopefully a week off will have done us some good,” added Rothery.

“It didn’t come at a bad time and, despite our recent results, I’m remaining positive.

“I genuinely think we’re doing all we can but sometimes you have to hold your hands up and accept the reality of our situation.

“We’re come up against much bigger, established teams at this level.

“They’ve got larger squads, much larger budgets and players with Football League experience.

“That makes it tough but we have to keep believing in what we’re doing.”