MARK Grimley has declared himself happy with Uttoxeter Town's start to life at step six of the non-league pyramid, but says the team had a reality check in their last match.
The season started with a last-minute 1-0 defeat at Littleton, but they quickly bounced back to thrash title favourites Hinckley AFC 6-1 and then Racing Club Warwick 2-1 in their first game at Oldfields.
However, that mini run ended in Tuesday night's 1-0 defeat at Bolehall Swifts.
Yet two wins and two narrow defeats is hardly a poor return for Town's first taste of life in the Midland Football League.
"If you'd have asked me on Tuesday, I'd have said I was delighted with the way we'd started, but we had a reality check against Bolehall.
"I was a bit disappointed with that performance, and we have to remember that just because we've had a good couple of results, it doesn't give us the right to beat anyone.
"As good as the performance and result were against Hinckley, that maybe put us in cloud cuckoo land and it's bitten us on the backside a little bit."
Consolidation is the main aim this season, and based purely on the first four games, that target is eminently possible, but Grimley would like to have a plan B for the more testing away days.
"We need to look at another dimension to the way we play, and we might have to change the personnel when we go to these tricky away games," he said.
"But we've had six points from three away games and one home game – if we average that over the season then we will be there or thereabouts.
"We've not seen anyone we can't beat, it's just finding that consistency.
"It's a learning curve, as the lads haven't played together as a team before, but we've just told them to believe in themselves and trust each other."
They face Pilkington XXX tomorrow at home, and Grimley will be without several players, with Liam Sowter, Jack Holly, Jon Lamburn, James Curley and Mark Springall all unavailable.
"A lot of the lads work for JCB and they're on shutdown, so we've got five away on holiday this Saturday.
"They have all been starting games, so it's going to be a bit of a siege mentality with lads drafted in from the reserves.
"Luckily the reserves don't have a game so we'll be able to draw on them.
"I know what my first-choice XI is but I've not been able to put them out yet, so it's difficult to assess where we are.
"We won't see a settled side until the start of September, although to be fair that's the same for most clubs at this level."
Grimley singled out new signing Doug Price as one of the few players to emerge from the Bolehall game with any credit.
"We were a bit down to the bare bones, but that's no excuse," he said.
"There were far too many players who weren't at it on Tuesday – and they know that.
"Were they as good as us? No.
"Did they want it more? Yes.
"Nobody has a god-given right to win football matches.
"Doug Price was absolutely outstanding – head and shoulders above everyone else.
"Defensively we looked all right, but they scored and we never really recovered.
"At times we looked really good, but at others we looked a bit out of our depth."