ACCRINGTON Stanley striker Paul Mullin is expecting big improvements next season.
The 34-year-old signed a new contract in January - turning down a £75,000 move to Shrewsbury Town - hoping the Reds could launch a battle for a play-off spot in this current campaign.
But instead it has turned into another battle near the bottom with just three games left of the season.
The good news is that 18th placed Stanley need just one point for safety and will be all out to get it against Barnet tomorrow in their penultimate home match of the campaign (ko 3pm).
But some statistics make bad reading with Stanley losing 25 games - the most in League Two - and conceding a league high 78 goals.
"This season has just petered out really which is a huge disappointment," said vice captain Mullin.
"We need a point to be safe but we expected to be in a much better position than where we are.
"We just haven’t been consistent enough this season and we haven’t put a run together."
The Reds have only strung a run of three unbeaten games together and have picked up just 16 points out of the last 60.
Mullin continued: "When I signed the new contract in January, I hadn’t given up hope that we would push on from there but, for whatever reason, it just hasn’t happened.
"We haven’t been good enough. There has been all the talk about potential but it all counts for nothing as we haven’t turned it into results.
"I think that is the most frustrating thing. We know there is a nucleus of a good squad here and we have shown the potential at times but just haven’t kicked on.
"I think at times we have needed more experience and needed a few more level heads on the pitch while other times we have been unlucky - I think it is a combination of things as to why we haven’t done so well.
"Everyone is feeling it now as all of us can’t wait for next season to start just so we can wipe the slate clean and give a good account of ourselves.
"We want to win our last three games and then put this season to bed and regroup."
The Reds’ record appearance holder admitted that he expects there to be changes in the summer as boss John Coleman looks to find a winning formula.
"There will be changes, whether they are wholesale or not, I don’t know.
"It doesn’t take a genius to work out though that we need to strengthen if we are to push on.
"A lot of teams have been in this division a long time - like Rochdale and Stockport - and now they are suddenly finding their form and are in with a shout of promotion.
"And we want to push on next season. We need to look at Rochdale and I can’t see why we can’t be up there like them next season.
"Player for player there is not a lot of difference between the two teams but look where they are.
"We need to make a few tweaks here and there so we can try and emulate them. We don’t want to stand still. Some people might say that it is a success staying up for Accrington Stanley but we have set our sights a lot higher at this club.
"We want a top ten finish at least and we need to improve our form especially to get the crowds back and more money into the club."
Mullin hasn’t yet given up on adding to his 13-goal tally this season but is going through something of a dry spell with two goals in the last 15 games.
"I want a couple more goals before the end of the season," said Mullin, who got 16 goals in the last campaign.
"I have been frustrated that I haven’t got more since the start of the year.
"I can’t put my finger on it. I haven’t had a multitude of chances although I can think of a few that I haven’t taken.
"Hopefully that will change with three games left."
Defender Leam Richardson is set to return from his suspension while loan player Aswad Thomas sits out the last of his three game ban although he is unlikely to return from Charlton for the final two games of the season.
Barnet, meanwhile, are safe in 14th place in the league but face a battle to keep hold of their lively winger Albert Adomah, 20, who has been attracting attention from a host of clubs.
He has scored five goals since signing from Harrow Borough during the January transfer window.
- STANLEY reserves are due to play Tranmere at home next Wednesday (ko 7pm). The second string have a few games to fit in before the end of the Pontins League season.