ASSISTANT manager James Wakeling has questioned Hullbridge Sports’ mentality ahead of a huge Isthmian North clash tomorrow.

Sports, who are enjoying their first ever campaign in the fourth tier of non-league football, will host Brentwood Town at the Ryan’s Heating Stadium.

Just two points separate the sides who sit precariously above the relegation zone and Wakeling insists the attitude of Hullbridge’s players must change as they look to avoid an immediate return to the Essex Senior League.

“I think the players’ mentality is wrong,” said Wakeling, who oversaw proceedings as Sports suffered a 2-0 defeat to Dereham Town in midweek due to boss Darren Manning being ill.

“The mentality needs to be better than it is at the moment.

“That’s what Darren and I have been speaking about.

“If we can get the mentality right, we will boost our chances of climbing the table.”

Hullbridge go into the weekend 16th in the Isthmian North standings and sit five points clear of Basildon United, who are the division’s bottom side.

However, a defeat would allow 17th-placed Brentwood to leapfrog Sports in the standings.

And Wakeling maintains Hullbridge must pick up a positive result as they look to record a first three-point haul since overcoming Romford, who are financially backed and managed by former Billericay Town owner Glenn Tamplin, in January.

“We have seven home games left this season and they are starting to become six-pointers,” added Wakeling.

“Brentwood are also fighting to stay up, so we know they will be looking at this as a chance to get more points on the board themselves.

“After facing Brentwood, we then play Tilbury on Tuesday, so it’s an important week for us.

“We need to pick up points quickly.”

Sports have been boosted after their Ryan’s Heating Stadium passed a ground grading under FA and Isthmian North guidelines.

Hullbridge staged home fixtures against Cambridge City and Dereham Town at Bowers & Pitsea’s Len Salmon Stadium.

The loss to Dereham left Wakeling frustrated, particularly as it came just a matter of days after ending a run of four consecutive defeats with a draw at promotion-chasing Bury Town.

“We went with the same team against Dereham as we did at Bury,” admitted Wakeling.

“But so many players’ levels dropped and that made it really disappointing for us.”