FC CLACTON manager Tom Austin wants his players to rediscover their killer instinct.

The Seasiders boss has been generally encouraged by his side's performances in recent matches, drawing 0-0 with Wroxham, losing 3-2 at home to Mildenhall Town on Saturday and going down 2-1 at runaway leaders Stowmarket Town on Tuesday.

However, he admits his players' inability to convert chances has become something of an Achilles heel.

He wants them to be more ruthless and bury their opportunities - starting in Saturday's Thurlow Nunn League derby at Brantham Athletic.

"We pushed the league leaders all the way but clinical finishing was the difference," said Austin, reflecting on Tuesday's loss at Greens Meadow.

"There were certainly positives to take forward but we haven't got a killer instinct at the moment, whereas other sides are punishing us for everything.

"The boys have to keep working hard and take responsibility when they're out on the pitch.

"As a management team, there's not much we can do from the sidelines, when the players have crossed the white line.

"They have to knuckle down and then, when they get a chance, get their head over the ball and make it count - or at the very least work the keeper.

"Against Wroxham, we had six good chances and missed a penalty and Saturday was another prime example because we were 2-1 up but lost 3-2.

"We should have gone on to see the game out and put the match to bed.

"A draw, at least, would have been a fair result and we should have been ahead at half-time.

"We dominated the first period, without putting our chances away.

"We've had a tough run of games against top, in-form sides but need to be more clinical, when opportunities come our way."

Clacton make the short hop to a much-improved Brantham side on Saturday.

"It's another very big game and everyone loves a derby," said Austin, who pitched 17-year-old goalkeeper Jake Allwood into the action in midweek, as a replacement for the injured Luke Avenell.

"It shows what confidence can do.

"Brantham are on a great run and they've really turned things around.

"They've got momentum and a winning mentality and both of those things can take you a long way in football.

"I still believe we'll be in and around the top eight, too.

"We've struggled in terms of continuity, in terms of being able to name the same team, but I still feel we'll be there or thereabouts, as long as we keep turning up and doing the right things."

Jordan Blackwell scored his first Clacton goal, from the penalty spot, in Tuesday's defeat while Wayne Chapman and Kyelan Marvell scored the goals against Mildenhall.