Liam Noble thinks Hartlepool United will be looking over their shoulders in the National League – if they continue in their current vein of form.
The stand-in skipper knows Pools have got the quality within their ranks to turn things around, though.
Pools head into the weekend clash with League One Gillingham looking to end their worst run of the season – Matthew Bates’ men have lost their last three fifth tier games.
And while last weekend’s 4-0 loss at Bromley is fresh in the memory, Noble is of the belief Pools’ problems run deeper than that.
The Geordie, who has had a big impact at Pools both on and off the park this campaign, thinks performances have not been good enough for weeks, never mind down at Hayes Lane.
“In my opinion we have not been good enough for the last few weeks,” said Noble.
“As a team we need to take a long hard look at ourselves.
“Saturday was not good enough and to be honest we have been poor for some time now.
“If we play like that (Bromley) all season we will be bottom of the table not near the top. It is something we have to change.”
Noble has been no shrinking violet this week as Pools face up to their first real mini-crisis of the season.
It is also probably the first time manager Bates has also come under any sustained pressure from the terraces.
The FA Cup is a welcome release for Pools in one way, but it could also add fuel to the fire, should Bates & Co come away from Kent with another hammering by a side two divisions higher up the footballing foodchain.
“All we can do is dust ourselves down and go again this weekend,” said Noble.
“The players made their feelings known – we’ve had a few arguments but the gaffer has stepped in and stopped us. Emotions were running high.
“But as I have said before we have to take the highs with the lows, as well as the abuse because we deserve it.
“Now is the time to look in the mirror for players. We need to improve this weekend.”