The NEW SAINTS boss Scott Ruscoe has given his 'half-term' assessment of 2018/19 so far: 'we can be better'.

TNS will sit out this weekend, with Ruscoe enjoying the break afforded by internationals this weekend with some time away, after the Saints bounced back from defeat at Cardiff with a convincing win over Carmarthen Town.

After reaching the Europa League Third Qualifying Round, Ruscoe has seen his side drop maximum points twice, against Connah's Quay Nomads and Cardiff Met, plus crashing out of the Irn-Bru Cup.

But while Saints sit second in the Welsh Premier League behind Nomads, Ruscoe insists he does not rate his side any higher than a seven so far and is expecting big improvements towards Christmas.

"I wouldn't give ourselves any more than a six or a seven for this first part of the season," he said.

"Yes we did well in Europe and after six games we got to a stage where we were fit enough, but I think going out of the Irn-Bru Cup was disappointing, as were the defeats to Connah's Quay and Cardiff Met.

"We've lost three games there and it's left us with a bit of work to do. We were disappointed with that and with the first stage of the season.

"That's because I've got such high expectations of my squad and I know what they can do.

"We should never have gone out of the Irn-Bru Cup; we should have got a draw against Nomads and on our day, we'd never get beaten 4-1 by Cardiff Met."

Ruscoe says his players are fully prepared for the next stage of the season, from the international break all the way up the end of phase one in January.

He added: "When Europe is finished, we give the players targets for the season. They know how many clean sheets we want, how many goals we want to see scored and even how many losses we will allow. For this next set of fixtures, we're looking at how ever many games are left, let's go unbeaten.

"We'll have started the Welsh Cup too, so let's get on in that and we would have also played in our League Cup clash with Llandudno too, so let's go out and win that.

"They're competitions we want to win so there's three targets already – win the two cups and go unbeaten in the league. We also want to score as many goals as we can and we've kept five clean sheets so far, let's keep a lot more."