Mark Butler insists it is consistency and not ability that is the stumbling block for his Carshalton Athletic side as they look to muscle their way into the Ryman Premier promotion pack.

The Robins boss was talking after Monday’s 2-0 derby defeat to league leaders Sutton United at Colston Avenue, a game in which Carshalton gave as good as they got for long spells.

And Butler feels finding that level of performance is his key task as manager.

He said: “If you looked at the game objectively I think it is fair to say we are not a million miles behind Sutton.

“And in a one-off game like Monday’s it pretty much came down to who took their chances.

“But over the course of the season it is more about a consistency of performance.

“You could easily make a case that we have flair players who are capable of more tricks, but they do not do it anywhere near as often and that is what is holding us back.

“We need to find that spine.

“Obviously I am nicely envious of what Sutton have at their disposal and we have to cut our cloth accordingly, but we are searching for the right players for the right areas and we will keep on searching.”

Byron Harrison and Paul Johnson missed golden chances early on before Sutton took control in front of a bumper crowd of over 1,000.

And Butler has tasked his players to rise to the occasion when the Robins travel to Croydon Athletic on Saturday.

He added: “The players enjoyed the atmosphere against Sutton and you could see that in the intensity.

“There was a real desire to fight and play for the Carshalton shirt.

“But that has not always been the case and the challenge for the squad will be to create their own atmosphere when we go to places like Croydon.

“People are beginning to question us now and we have to show that motivation and prove people wrong.”

Carshalton Athletic’s next three matches: Jan 1 Croydon Athletic (a), 8 Cray Wanderers (h), 15 Lowestoft Town (a)