KIERAN Baggs admits he might not have the transfer funds available to cover for the near dozen players he is without at the moment, which ultimately reduced Melksham Town to a 5-0 loss at AFC Totton in Southern League Division One South on Tuesday night.

Remarkably, Melksham have lost twice as many games in the last 10 days than they had throughout the entire league campaign up until Boxing Day – consequently dropping them to 10th in the table.

Town also suffered a 4-0 defeat away at Cirencester Town on Saturday.

Not all is lost for Baggs’ troops, though, who are still only seven points shy of the play-off frame with two games in hand over sixth-placed Evesham United.

But another luckless night in front of goal coupled with the five goals at the other end reduced morale in the camp to a season-low, according to Baggs.

And funds to draft in emergency players to cover for the 10 men currently missing through injury or suspension might not necessarily be enough for the manager to turn things around in the short-term.

He said: “We’ve got a budget, and I will have to stay within that budget.

“It’s one of the lower budgets in the league, but it might be that we have a gamble on some Western League players that are willing to step up and take on a challenge.

“At the moment, that might not be possible to spend money on players short-term. We have to make sure the players we have on Saturday are prepared as best they can.

“I was upset with the performance on Tuesday and I send out my apologies to those that travelled to support.”

Totton took an early lead through Stuart Green before Justin Bennett doubled the advantage with only 13 minutes played.

A defensive approach to the remainder of the second half kept Melksham’s two-goal deficit intact.

But strikes from Alex Haynes, Craig Feeney and another for Bennett inflicted another heavy loss for Melksham, who face little respite this weekend when hosting Paulton Rovers.

Baggs said: “We’re calling on 16-year-old lads to play Southern League football, and it’s a massive ask for them.

“Tuesday was really disappointing. We didn’t work hard enough, and morale is on the floor at the moment.

“We’ve deteriorated quite dramatically over the last month, and it’s up to me to pick the boys up in time for Saturday against Paulton.

“There is huge pressure on myself and the boys to not lose five games in a row and undo all the work we did in 2018.

“We’re going to have to dust ourselves down massively.

“You’ve got to take the rough with the smooth.

“We had a great run and went unbeaten for the first 10 games of the season.

“As a manager, it’s my job to motivate the guys. I know going down to Southampton mid-week with a bare 11 is never ideal, but that is no excuse.

“They must give me a response on Saturday and ensure they stand up and be counted.”