Skipper Alex Wakely admits his Northants squad are 'deflated' as they stand on the brink of a big defeat at Lancashire.
The County were bowled out for 200 in the second innings, having been dismissed for 230 in their first.
And with Lancashire having fought back from 209 for six to 415 all out, the hosts now need just 16 runs to complete the win on the final day.
It will mean Northants have failed to win any of their opening three Specsavers County Championship Division Two matches.
And after they won just two of their eight Royal London One-Day Cup matches, spirits are low in the County camp.
"We have been totally outplayed by Lancashire in this match," Wakely said.
"Right from the start we didn’t get enough runs in the first innings but we bowled pretty well and got a burst of wickets when they were 200 for six.
"But we just couldn’t quite get any more wickets on the second day and then we were pretty poor in the second innings.
"Ricardo Vasconcelos and I were both caught in the covers and that’s poor in four-day cricket.
"It’s not what you want and it doesn’t set the tone at all.
"We’re pretty frustrated because we’ve played some pretty good cricket this season but it’s a deflated dressing room at the moment.
"There are ways to win and ways to lose. Even when you’re up against it, you want to put up a fight.
"You want to be competitive and we haven’t been today.
"Someone’s got to get a big not-out, we have done in the past but we haven’t done it today."
Richard Gleeson has been the chief tormentor of his former County, taking a maiden 10-for in the match.
Gleeson ripped through the Northants batting line-up in both innings, and he admits it is strange playing against the side he left last summer.
"I’ve never had a 10-for before, so I’m hugely proud and very happy that I don’t have to do any bowling tomorrow," Gleeson said.
"I didn’t bowl very well before tea, so I decided to try a little bit of short stuff to get the batsman’s feet not moving quite as much. It came out nicely and the plan worked.
"I bowled a few short ones at Rob Keogh and that put a little bit of doubt in the other batsmen’s minds. They were maybe sitting back a little and a couple were caught waiting for the short ball.
"It was tough out there but it’s just about trying to win games of cricket. There are going to be good wickets here and we need to find a way to win on them.
"You needed to be a little bit patient because the pitch wasn’t doing a lot. We’ve got some good bowlers but we all add something a little bit different.
Northants were the County who gave Gleeson his big break while he was working for the Lancashire Cricket Board.
And he added: "Northamptonshire found me. They gave me the opportunity to play first-class cricket and I owe my career to them.
"If it hadn’t been for them I could still be working for the cricket board here.
"So it was a bit strange playing against them and there was a bit of banter when I went out to bat."