Chichester City joint-manager Alex Twitchen believes the next few weeks will be vital in gauging how his side are going to fare the for the remainder of the season.
City were beaten by Rye on Saturday, their fifth defeat in seven league games.
“We knew that Rye would be a challenging game for us and so it proved,” said Twitchen.
“I thought we competed well with them for long periods of the game but their organisation, power and speed proved a little to much for us at this stage of our development.
“There are definite signs that we are moving in the right direction and we now enter a different phase of the season where the group of players we have will become available on a more regular basis and that will give the opportunity to work with them and develop a better level of organisation all over the pitch.
“The next six to eight weeks will be vital in determining just exactly where our level of competitiveness will be, but there is a lot of optimism and I feel that we have got the early part of the season out of the way and that was always going to be the most difficult stage of the season for us.”