Robbie Blake spoke of his disappointment at the Rocks' performance in their 3-0 loss to Brightlingsea Regent - and warned his players to sharpen up for Saturday's clash at Burgess Hill.
The Rocks travelled nearly 300 miles only to fall victim to the Essex side, ending a run of four games undefeated. Blake said: "It was really disappointing, the preparation wasn't ideal and we weren't good enough tonight. We were missing a few players and, although we may have won Saturday being in a similar situation, we just looked off it."
Bognor were once again without Portsmouth strike duo Dan Smith and Bradley Lethbridge while striker Jimmy Wild was on holiday and defender Gary Charman was a defensive absentee after picking up a groin problem.
Regardless of the poor pitch conditions, Blake stated that his side still needed to be better than the opposition. He said: "The pitch was really firm and bobbly, but I've told the players no matter how bad it is, we still have to be better than them. They (Brightlingsea) played more direct than us and we like to play and pass, but we need to be better in possession. At this level once you keep the ball and pass, gaps open up for chances."
Bognor handed a debut to Kaleem Haitham who has dual-signed from Chichester City and Blake admitted it was a difficult game for him to come into.
"Due to the changes we had to make it was difficult to do anything but start him. But we've brought him in so why not see what he's all about, it was a tough night for him but unfortunately that's the way it is."
Blake said he needed an improvement from his side for Saturday's Bostik premier game at Burgess Hill following this poor display.
"We need to dust ourselves down for the derby on Saturday, they'll be a tougher challenge and we need to overcome, adapt and be better."
Despite the Rocks' crushing 8-0 victory over the Hillians in the reverse fixture earlier this season, Bognor must be aware of the opposition's recent change in form. Blake said: "They've had a few good results of late, they've turned it around and it'll be a tough game. They will be well up for it and will remember the previous the result, so we need to be on our guard and have to be better."
Blake also gave his thanks to the loyal Bognor fans who travelled to Brightlingsea, who numbered nearly 50, saying: "I appreciate the support they give, we've got to thank them for all their support."