Neal Ardley has admitted AFC Wimbledon are fighting a losing battle to reach the League Two play-offs.
The disappointing verdict came on the back of a 1-0 defeat at Portsmouth last weekend, where Ryan Taylor’s second half header condemned Dons to a third consecutive defeat in League Two.
With 15 games remaining, including nine before the end of March, Ardley’s men are 10 points off the play-offs.
There may be plenty of points to play for, but the Dons’ inconsistency in performance has left Ardley downbeat about their chances, and concentrating more on building a team for next season.
He said: “At times I don’t know what I am going to get from the boys in a game and I have told them that.
“You are always over critical when you are involved in the club, and when I look at the games against Bristol Rovers, Torquay and Rochdale games, they stand out as being really poor.
“But there have not been too many others where I have thought that.”
He added: “Unfortunately that is where we’re at. It is sad because slowly, but surely, our chances of achieving the play-offs are going out the window because we have a lot of ground to make up.
“We need to make sure we finish as high up the league as we can and with as strong a finish as we can, and hopefully, if we can iron out the inconsistencies, then we might have a chance next year.”
Ahead of this weekend’s visit of Bury, Ardley is sweating over the fitness of Will Antwi (hamstring), while Andy Frampton and Callum Kennedy remain at least a week away from a return to training.
Peter Sweeney is fit to train, but unlikely to feature, while Charlie Sheringham, concussed in the Pompey defeat, continues to be monitored.
Ardley said: “I would love to get to a point where I am naming a squad and having to tell one or two of them they are not in the 18.
“It is not a nice thing to do, but it is for the right reasons. We have nine games between now and the end of March, and you aren’t going to pick the same team every week.”
Out: Callum Kennedy's return to training is some weeks away