DOUGIE Freedman has told his players they must toughen up or face slipping back into the relegation picture.

Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat against Brighton interrupted a good run of results that had seen Wanderers go six games unbeaten for only the second time this season.

It also seemed to end any vague hopes of a repeat of last year’s late surge up the table, which eventually saw the club miss out on the play-offs by a single point.

Freedman refused to get too downbeat after the Reebok loss, insisting Brighton’s superior finishing was the biggest difference on the day.

And the manager has warned his players they cannot afford to be too despondent as they look to salvage some pride from the campaign.

“It was a blip because the way we have been playing for a dozen games has been fine,” he said. “Sometimes you’ve got to put your hands up, take it like a man and move on, that’s what we’ll do at Yeovil next weekend.

“It isn’t a drama. Brighton are a good team and you have to take your hat off to them. In both boxes there was nothing in the game and we had chances to win it.”

The slip against Brighton was made all the more surprising considering the resolve that had been shown a few days earlier to secure a point against Derby at the iPro Stadium.

That is the kind of mental toughness Freedman wants to instil in his squad – but the Scot admits there is still a lot of work to be done.

“If you don’t play so well in a game you can take the point, but we’re not really doing that at the moment,” he said.

“At this football club at the moment we don’t seem to be getting that rub of the green. It seems we always have to be performing at our absolute maximum to get anything out of a game.

“That’s where maybe I need to get into the team’s mentality that sometimes we really do have to grind out results.”

Freedman has not ruled out bringing in another player on loan before the window closes on March 30.

That could depend on others moving out – and there has been speculation over the future of both Chris Eagles and Andy Lonergan, who have both found themselves out of the side in recent weeks.

“We’re always having a look but it won’t be just anyone,” Freedman added. “It has to be a certain type of player, with the right hunger and desire.

“I’ve never had a phone call about one of my players but I would expect one or two to attract something if they don’t get the right number of games.”