Chichester City's FA Cup heroes warned - now's time to concentrate on league survival
Chichester City coach Darin Killpartrick insisted survival in the Isthmian South East Division will be a turning point in the history of the club.
The Lilywhites have suffered a harsh reality check since their FA Cup second round exit to Tranmere Rovers, with two defeats in two games.
Last week saw Chi knocked out of the Sussex Senior Cup, conceding a last-minute winner as they fell 3-2 to Lewes, while they suffered their biggest league defeat of the season in a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of high-flying Hastings United on Saturday.
And Killpartrick admitted managing the comedown from their magical FA Cup run was going to be ‘extremely difficult’. He said: “The next two weeks will be the hardest part of my job for myself and Dan (Potter).
“Everybody needs to get to grips that we need to survive this league and stop talking about anything else. We need to get our foothold and get used to it.
“The players are new to travelling, we need to show a lot more respect and just get as many points on the board as we can and keep building the style of play we’ve developed.
“It’s been a work in progress getting our identity and for all the time I’m here, we’ll be striving to do that.”
Non-league clubs who gain national attention in the FA Cup typically kick on in the following seasons.
Asked whether the run signals a turning point in the club’s history, Killpartrick said: “If we survive this league it will be. We made history in the FA Cup but now the club and team have to prove themselves in this league.
“We have to prove ourselves at this level, and that’s the biggest challenge now. There’s some luck involved in the FA Cup but there’s no luck over 42 games, that’s for sure.”
City host their first home game since that 5-1 loss to Tranmere and Kilpatrick hopes that they can maintain the buzz by welcoming a big crowd when they face seventh-placed Guernsey this Saturday.
He added: “It’s really important, but it’s just trying to get the process and look after the way that we’re playing.
“If we do that we’ll be OK and results will hopefully come but we desperately need to keep our identity and what we’re trying to do.
“Saturday will be an extremely hard game and Guernsey are an excellent side so it will be another really good challenge for both the management team and for the club.
“We’ve had a full week to prepare so there’s no excuse for any fatigue. They should be ready to go.”
Kick off at Oaklands Park is at the earlier-than-usual time of 2pm.