Bonney gives his Rosslyn Park squad a warning
Jan Bonney has warned his Rosslyn Park squad they face the chop if they cannot prove themselves in the upper reaches of National One before the end of the season.
Saturday's 35-10 defeat to Fylde leaves them in fourth, 21 points off leaders Ealing Trailfinders and with their already slim promotion dreams now in tatters.
It is an all too familiar story for Bonney who saw his side squander a top-of-the-table position in early January last season to eventually finish fifth after an horrendous end to the campaign.
They are in danger of a similar finish this year but Bonney wants to see his players fighting for second spot in an effort to prove they can provide a sustained promotion push in the future.
"Unless Ealing collapse, which I don't think they will, it is about us getting as high as possible and playing for that second spot," he said.
"With all that hard work, not to finish second this year would not be a good year for us.
"It's about trying to get guys to carry on playing for something now. When you know you are not fighting against relegation and not going to go up it is about getting that motivation.
"A lot of that has got to come from the players themselves. They have to be mentally ready to win games and that's the challenge.
"There will be games the guys will be up for but there are some games you think you should win and go through the motions. We cannot do that and we have to be at our best every week and the guys have to think about that.
"We will look at playing a few guys and giving them an opportunity to show they are hungry, want to play and have the will to win."
Hugo Ellis scored an early try on Saturday to put Park ahead but Fylde ran away with the game in the final 20 minutes after Dom Shabbo was sin-binned, as was Ellis in the last minute.
"We went into the last 20 minutes at 16-10 down but we didn't play well in that last 20 minutes," said Bonney, whose side have lost six games on the road this season.
"We made some mistakes, fell off some tackles and had somebody in the bin.
"We have to figure out a way of holding out in the tight games away from home. The league doesn't lie, we have gone away and we haven't performed. We have played good rugby but haven't won those matches.
"We are unbeaten at home but in the long away games we have mentally fallen away. It is about building the confidence up and winning one of those games.
"We have seven games left, three at home and four away and those four away games are against difficult opposition, none more so than this weekend. Loughborough Students are on a role and we cannot afford to go away there and not perform.
"The guys have to step up and finish the season well."