Bognor boss Jack Pearce has blamed injuries as the major reason Rocks are not entering the final weekend of the season in playoff contention.
Two months ago, hopes were high at Nyewood Lane that the club would be in the hunt for an immediate return to step two football.
But a run of just one win in 11 league matches since mid-March have seen Rocks slip down the Bostik Premier standings.
After picking up just one point from Easter matches at champions Dorking Wanderers and struggling Whitehawk, Bognor are now 12th, with only a top half finish to fight for.
They end their campaign tomorrow with a trip to Kent to face playoff-chasing Folkestone Invicta (3pm).
But Pearce cannot help but think that things could have been different if key players had stayed fit for crucial parts of the year.
He said: “It’s been miserable being manager as I’ve just been fighting fires, Training has been a joke as with no players you cannot build cohesion.
“With our best 14 players and a normal number of injuries we would be in the playoffs.”
Any hopes Bognor had of sneaking into contention were ended by Dorking who produced a dominant display last weekend to beat Rocks 2-0.
That was followed by an entertaining 0-0 derby day draw with Whitehawk on Easter Monday.
Speaking after that match to Rocks Radio, Pearce said: “We got the maximum effort out of the players we have. It showed that our decision-making at times was short of a team that is low on confidence which we undoubtedly are, given the results we have had.
“You are judged on your home form and our home form has been appalling.”
Doug Tuck and Brad Lethbridge will both miss tomorrow’s match at Folkestone but Pearce is hopeful they could be back for the Sussex Senior Cup final.
— Rocks fans have limited time to pick up tickets for the club’s Sussex Senior Cup final against Burgess Hill Town on May 7 at Brighton & Hove Albion’s The Amex stadium.
Tickets priced £10 adults, £5 concessions and under 16s £3 can be bought in advance from the Rocks’ club shop at the following times; today (Friday, April 26) – 12.30pm to 4pm; tomorrow – 10am to 11am; Monday (April 29) – 12.30pm to 2.30pm.