A WEEK is a long time in football, particularly when you are at the wrong end of League Two fighting a relegation battle.

After the Pirates saw off Newport with an impressive 3-1 victory on Saturday, January 25, we could all breathe a little easier as three vital points saw a gap appear between us and the bottom two.

However, any optimism that may have engendered has been quickly banished by two consecutive defeats.

The home defeat to Accrington last Tuesday did the damage, but the manner of a 3-1 loss at league leaders Chesterfield on Saturday did little to rouse the troops.

Losing at the Spireites may have been a predictable outcome but you hope that your team has battled to the end and given everything for the cause.

Unfortunately some of the comments coming from the team and manager after the contest suggested this was not the case.

Defensively we have been tight for most of the season, but at the Proact Stadium our back four looked like they had just met and the performance was riddled with individual errors.

Our back line stood by and watched as the first goal went in and things were to get no better, aside from a well taken Lee Brown strike that proved to be no more than a consolation.

A dramatic improvement in effort and attitude is needed if we are to have any hope of avoiding the dreaded drop.

Our hopes were not helped by Torquay’s win at Portsmouth, which means we are now just one point off the bottom two.

News that striker Ryan Brunt will be out for the rest of the season came as another blow this week but was not unexpected. His absence this season through injury has been a major factor behind our struggle and Ward needs to secure the services of another striker before it is too late.

We now enter another hugely important week with home fixtures against Oxford and Cheltenham coming up on Saturday and Tuesday, in which the players must atone for the previous two games.