Stand-In head coach Tommy McGee admits Yorkshire Carnegie are struggling for motivation and confidence.
In what has been a turbulent season, Carnegie have won just four league games, two of those coming in the six Championship fixtures McGee has overseen.
They showed promise last month in twice pushing Bristol all the way, but despite victory over Moseley last time out at Headingley, they took a big step backwards with last week’s defeat at Doncaster Knights.
“It’s easy to get up for the big games and to be playing at your nine or 10 out of 10 level,” said McGee, who succeeded Gary Mercer in November.
“Before Moseley, there wasn’t the spark that was needed and the one thing you cannot be beaten on is that bit of desire.
“And that’s about the dynamic of the group, the emotional readiness, and we’ve addressed that this week. For us, it’s about finding that consistency within the senior players to say that if something doesn’t feel quite right then something needs to change, whether it’s technical or tactical, emotional or mental.
“And it’s that mental aspect we were lacking against Doncaster and, for me personally, I find that very disappointing.
“I can’t keep battering down their confidence levels because you can see that that’s still an issue. As much as I’m being positive and we’re trying to drive guys through, it’s been a turbulent season.
“We need to lift ourselves up and that’s the challenge we face.”
That challenge comes in the form of a Nottingham side who currently occupy fourth spot, 14 points better off than Carnegie.
To improve that, Carnegie have signed two players this week; Bath second-row Tom Ellis and Bristol back Auguy Slowik, who starts on the wing tomorrow against Nottingham.