MANAGER Richard Fey has slammed his squad’s commitment levels in the early weeks of the new season, and admits some players are walking on thin ice following two more defeats for Melksham Town in the space of three days.

Town first lost 3-0 at Winchester City on Saturday – their third defeat in four Southern League Division One South games this term – before they were dumped out of the FA Cup by lower-league opponents Shepton Mallett in a 3-2 preliminary round replay defeat on Monday, losing 3-2.

Fey was without the services of six players for Saturday’s trip to Winchester, while a handful of the club’s U18s made their first-team debuts on Monday for similar reasons.

Without a fixture this weekend, Fey now wants his new-look squad to bind together for the remainder of September and dramatically improve their defensive record, which so far reads as 19 goals conceded in six games.

He said: “Commitment levels and unavailability in the team have now reached an embarrassing level.

“Players are missing football matches for pathetic excuses, and I need to do something about that.

“The club – and the chairman – have been brilliant and understand my frustrations.

“After Monday’s FA Cup loss to Shepton Mallett, we’ve now got everyone back bar two players.

“The holiday season is over now and things can only get better.

“Some players are walking on thin ice. I told them after our game at Winchester that they’re letting me down.

“I knew this season wouldn’t be easy. We have a completely new team, but I’m trying.

“The supporters and the club have been outstanding.

“I must congratulate Shepton Mallett.

“If they play how they did against us all season, they will finish in the top three of their league.”

Saturday’s loss in particular hurt Fey, who is keen to reduce Melksham’s level of individual errors that are leading to goals.

One positive at least is that the players are personally admitting to being in the wrong.

Fey added: “We only had six missing on Saturday – that’s not a sarcastic comment.

“We knew we were playing a team that has ambitions to win the league. Individual mistakes cost us all three goals.”