AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor called on his players to learn the lessons of last Saturday’s final pre-season meeting with Tranmere Rovers.
The Coasters were beaten 4-1 in their last match before the new National League North season kicks off on Saturday.
They trailed 3-0 inside the opening 25 minutes thanks to goals from Andy Cook, Darren Stephenson and Adam Mekki.
Although Steve Williams pulled one back for Challinor’s side, Jay Harris wrapped up victory in the second half for a Rovers side in the division which the Coasters hope to have reached this time next year.
“We weren’t great and they were very good so the combination of the two didn’t work out well for us,” Challinor acknowledged.
“We conceded some poor goals but I’d rather be conceding them now than next weekend.
“All the goals were preventable but the biggest disappointment was that we created several chances and didn’t stick them away.
“In the first half we were bullied and we were off the pace and hopefully it was a lightbulb moment for the lads because that is the level we are aspiring to.
“We are under no illusions, we are a long way short.”
The Coasters are one of the bookies’ favourites to reach the Conference top tier this season along with FC Halifax Town, who are seeking an immediate return following last season’s relegation.
It’s hoped the move to full-time status is another stage on the road to promotion, along with the move to Mill Farm.
Despite their status as promotion favourites, Challinor has warned his squad there will be no easy games over the next nine months.
“We have shown in the past that we are more than capable of competing at that level but if you’re not at it all the time then you will get beat,” he said.
“We have a big week ahead now and we have plenty of work to do before the season starts but we will meet that challenge head on.
“It has been a good pre-season overall for us and we have had to manage the transition from part-time to full time but it’s time for action now.”