Sammy Donnelly reckons his Shoreham Football Club squad have what it takes to pull off a great escape this season.
Mussels brought the curtain down on 2017 with a disappointing 3-0 defeat at fellow strugglers Ashford United on Saturday.
Basement boys Mussels were cut 15 points adrift at the bottom of the Bostik League South, with 23rd-placed United opening up a sizeable gap between the two teams.
Donnelly’s side would have been hoping to turn over a new leaf when they were due to start 2018 at home to Thamesmead Town on New Year’s Day.
Persistent rain meant Mussels’ Middle Road pitch was waterlogged and they now have to wait until Saturday’s trip to Ramsgate to get going for another year.
Donnelly admits he was pleased to see the back of 2017, with the hope Mussels can pull off the great escape in the second half of the campaign.
He said: “Myself and the squad still believe we can get out the mess we are in.
“We will just keep going, giving it everything – until it is mathematically impossible, we are still in with a chance.
“I’m looking to add to the squad all the time. Let’s hope this year is a bit better then the way we ended the previous one.”
Goals in the final half-hour from Andrew Dalehouse and Shomari Barnwell, with two, sent Shoreham to a 3-0 loss at place-above Ashford.
Donnelly was left with no choice but to push for a way back in after Daleshouse’s opener, which may have left them vulnerable.
He added: “We did alright in the first half, then went behind early in the second.
“It was a game we were hoping to get something from, so I set us up to really go for it in the closing stages.
“They (Ashford United) caught us a couple of times and we came away losing again.
“As I said, we’ll keep plugging away, working hard, hoping this year brings a change of fortune for us.”
Shoreham’s end to 2017 does not make for good reading.
They won just one of their final 16 league matches to finish the year - losing 13 of those.
But Donnelly believes 2018 could bring a new lease of life to his current crop.
“Everything seemed to be going against us as the year progressed, all we can do is hope and believe things will start to turn now.”
Mussels have their longest trip of the season on Saturday – to Ramsgate – with Donnelly looking for a positive result.
He said: “It’s a really long trip.
“We had a few carrying knocks looking doubtful for the New Year’s Day game against Thamesmead.
“We’ll train tonight, assess the situation of those who were doubtful and be ready for Ramsgate.
“It’s a chance to pick up some points, which we need to start doing.”
n Mitchell Hand has left the club to take interim charge at Littlehampton Town Football Club.
Hand, who signed from Golds in the summer, replaces Ady Baker following his resignation on Boxing Day.