Captain Andrew Teague believes an increased expectation level has been a major contributing factor behind Chorley’s stuttering start to the season.
The Magpies have lost as many as they won this term and find themselve s in a mid-table spot in the National League table.
Two defeats this week – against Curzon Ashton and Gainsborough Trinity – have seen Matt Jansen’s men slip nine points behind Harrogate Town, who occupy the final play-off position.
At the moment, it all seems a far cry from last season when Chorley topped the table for a period and spent the majority of it in the top five.
They went on to finish fourth and reach the play-off final, agonisingly missing out on promotion to the National League when they lost 3-2 to Guiseley in the play-off final.
The fact that Chorley did so well in their first campaign back at this level of football after winning the NPL Premier Division the year before has raised expectations on the squad this term, according to Teague.
The Magpies skipper, though, is confident he and his team-mates can cope with the extra pressure and will be in the promotion shake-up come the end of the season.
He said: “I think expectation last year…well, we didn’t really have any. There was no pressure on us.
“The only expectation we had was to try to stay in the league, but we came so close to going up into the Conference.
“We have expectations this season of being up there, but it’s not been plain-sailing so far.
“If I’m honest, it’s been quite difficult, but we believe in our ability as a squad.
“It’s virtually the same team as last season and we’ve just got to look forward to each game – start turning good performances into good results.”
Teague also agrees there is an argument to suggest that it has taken time for the players to adapt to new manager Matt Jansen.
Even though the former Blackburn Rovers ace served as previous boss Garry Flitcroft’s assistant for five years at Victory Park, Jansen has a different style of management and has brought in some fresh ideas.
“Of course it’s different under the new manager,” Teague said.
“He’s got a different style. There’s different training methods and his input is different. I suppose it takes a little while to get used to it.
“But you could use that as a little bit of an excuse – the players are professional enough to be able to perform well and be challenging at the top this season.”
Chorley have a break from league matters this weekend when they welcome NPL Premier Division strugglers Skelmersdale United to Victory Park in the third qualifying round of the FA Trophy.
The final of the competition is played at Wembley and realistically, Chorley have a real shot of reaching the ‘home of football’ and winning the competition.
“North Ferriby, who are in our division, won it last year and every credit to them,” Teague said.
“It’s a cup competition we can win. It’s not like the FA Cup where you can have a good run in it, but you’re never going to win it.
“The Trophy is one we can win and have great day out at Wembley. Skem are a good footballing team, but they have been struggling this season so we will start as favourites.”