Wealdstone boss Gordon Bartlett has admitted the balance of the side is not quite right and has called for patience as his team adapt to life in the Conference South.

The newly-promoted Stones have started their campaign with three draws but Bartlett’s side have had to cope without the departed trio of Jerome Akimo, Tom Pett and Glen Little.

Bartlett believes his team will need some time to improve their creativity in the final third but has backed the players to rise to the challenge. Bartlett said: “The balance of the side is not quite right. Losing Jerome four days before the start of the season did not help and we have lost a lot of the creativity we had with Tom Pett and Glen Little going.

“They are big players to replace and it just means we will have to play a bit differently this year.

“We are always on the lookout to improve the squad but I’m reasonably pleased with the lads we’ve brought in.

“The important thing is whether they fit into the group and, just like last season, I can’t praise the boys highly enough for their togetherness and work ethic.”

Bartlett pointed out that his side have had the same start as last season when the team went on to win the Ryman Premier title with 96 points.

He said: “We started last season with three draws so it shows that there are no disasters. It will just take a bit of time and patience for us.”

The Stones came agonisingly close to snatching a late winner at Gosport Borough as they were held to a 0-0 draw on Saturday.

Scott McGleish fired home a volley but it was ruled out out after the assistant referee spotteddefender Jack Mills had a foot over the line from his throw-in during the build-up to the goal.

Bartlett said: “Their manager said to the linesman to make sure he watched his foot. No sooner had he said that than the linesman flagged for a foul throw.

“But I have no complaints at all with the decision. It has happened and you have to take it on the chin and move on.”

Bartlett has underlined that he is not interested in consolidation and wants to achieve a place in the top half of the table.

The Wealdstone boss said: “We want to be competitive but we don’t want to use the word consolidation because then you only end up looking over your shoulder towards the relegation zone. I would like us to get into the top half of the table.

“We have to play our best otherwise you will get punished in this league for any mistake we make, so we have to keep these to a minimum.

The Stones host second bottom Farnborough this Saturday before a trip to promotion contenders Ebbsfleet United on Bank Holiday Monday.

Bartlett said: “It is very early days but just because Farnborough have had a tough start doesn’t mean we have a divine right to beat them.

“They haven’t had a win and neither have we but hopefully we can get off the mark this weekend.”