MARK Bentley stresses Canvey Island must alter their mentality if they want to reach their target of finishing in the Isthmian North’s top five.

The Gulls suffered a last-gasp 2-1 defeat to Dereham Town on Saturday, which ended a run of two consecutive victories, ahead of tonight’s clash with Cambridge City at Park Lane.

While Canvey are just three points off the play-off places ahead of their latest outing, boss Bentley insists improvements still need to be made.

Bentley said: “We have got to sort our mentality out.

“We have got eight games this month and we have already played three of them.

“It’s important that we take as many points as possible if we want to reach our goal because there are so many teams with the same aims.

“We have to start winning games at home and, although we are close, I want to stop talking about the play-offs.

“We’ve got to be consistent and only focus on ourselves rather than the opposition.

“I know Cambridge will come to us full of confidence after beating Romford at the weekend and they will look at our home record and fancy their chances, but we’ve got to find a way of making sure we bag all three points.”

Canvey recorded just six home wins in the Isthmian North last term.

Bentley was hoping for the Gulls to show improvements at Park Lane this season, but his side have recorded four wins and four defeats in nine home contests so far.

And Bentley cannot put his finger on why Canvey struggle in front of their own supporters.

“We can’t seem to make our home a fortress and I don’t understand why,” added Bentley.

“I don’t know whether the players feel the pressure or not.

“I’ve been wanting to make Park Lane a fortress and a place teams don’t want to come to, but teams must be looking at us and thinking they can get a result.”

Canvey go into tonight’s meeting with Cambridge having lost to Dereham in heartbreaking circumstances three days ago.

Although Rob Lacey gave the Gulls the lead, Robbie Linford levelled and Ryan Crisp hit the Dereham winner in the fifth minute of injury time.

And Bentley felt Canvey were guilty of not taking their chances.

“I thought a point apiece would have been fair but they scored with the last kick of the game and it was a massive disappointment,” admitted Bentley.

“We missed lots of chances early on and, if we had scored, that would have settled us down and meant they had to come out a bit more.”