MARK Collier says he is enduring his toughest spell as a manager after his Chippenham Town slipped to a 2-1 away defeat to Whitehawk in the FA Trophy.

The result means the Bluebirds have claimed victory just once in their last five games across all competitions.

Collier watched his team concede twice in the first half on Saturday, before David Pratt provided a consolation effort in the 77th minute.

“We aren’t having a crisis, I accept that we are in a difficult place at the moment but there are two ways we can go about it,” said the Bluebirds chief.

“We can either feel sorry for ourselves or we can face the challenge head on.

“It’s down to us, me as the manager and everyone at the club from the chairman all the way down to the ball boys.

“Without a doubt this is the toughest time I have had. As a club we have had 15 or 16 months of being on a complete high and now we are having a downturn.

“We are like everyone else. We are going to have a downturn. I don’t care if you’re Real Madrid or Corsham Town, you’re going to have a downturn in form at some point and that is what we are having at the moment.

“To get through it we need to make sure we have the courage, the togetherness and the support.

“I’ll be continuing to work hard and do what I think is right for the football club and we need to make sure we can come through the end of it, and I’m positive we can do that.”

Whitehawk was another frustrating defeat for the Bluebirds and the Chippenham Town chief has called for a widespread improvement from everyone in a bid to turn around their lagging form.

The Hardenhuish Park men are now without on-loan striker Scott Twine, after he picked up a hamstring injury during last weekend’s loss to Concord Rangers.

Collier was keen to extend the youngster’s stay at the club, and remains hopeful a deal can be done with Swindon Town to ensure Twine stays.

However, should that not be the case, Collier will have to plan without the teenager as he has been ruled out to up to six weeks after having a scan on his hamstring.

“It was a narrow defeat and we have out-played them for long periods of the game, but the bottom line is we’ve conceded two poor goals,” said Collier of the Trophy loss.

“The fact is we had lots of possession but we didn’t have the craft to break them down with a final ball, which is disappointing because we should have won.

“At this moment in time, it is an overall improvement that we need. We need to be better.

“I think we need to be a little bit more ruthless in the final third, but as I say people need to do their jobs man-for-man. If you don’t you’ll get found out and that is what happened.

“It’s not acceptable from my point of view and we can keep talking about it, but we need to make sure it happens on the pitch. It’s a disappointing day, it’s worth a lot of money and there is a lot of disappointment around the club at the moment.”