Trips to the league leaders and title chasers lie await for Haverhill Rovers in their next two fixtures.
Keiron Hammatt will hope to turn his side around following their 2-0 home defeat in his managerial debut against Stanway Rovers last Saturday’s (February 16) Thurlow Nunn Premier Division clash and take advantage of the recent poor form on third placed Mildenhall Town this Saturday (February 23, 3pm kick off).
After facing The Hall, who have won just one from four and lost their last two at home, Rovers face a trip to pace setters Dereham Town, who have won their last three, on March 3.
Rovers have taken just one point off Dereham in all of their league encounters.
Their problems are compounded by a number of key absentees, with Aaron Forshaw four weeks away from returning, Jamie Challis a couple of months out, Neil Cogger on holiday, Jack Wilkinson four to six weeks out and top scorer Dan Cornwell ‘50/50’.
Sam Holmes is expected to make a substitute appearance after his injury lay off and Greg Strong may make the bench.
“We’re really frustrated because the squad is so close to getting good results – I wouldn’t say Stanway are head and shoulders above us and I wouldn’t say they were two goals better than us on Saturday,” said Hammatt.
“Mildenhall’s form is something we will talk about, but for me they are a top three side with a lot of quality around and I believe they have good players.
“My first priority is to not concede a goal, because if we can keep a clean sheet we can come away with something.
“We have the creative players so if we can start well and defend well we’ll always have a chance.
“Unfortunately too many didn’t turn up on Saturday and only gave 75 per cent, so hopefully playing a top team will give us the motivation to come out of the traps.”
Hammatt also insisted he will be sticking with error-prone goalkeeper Elliott Anderson, who was at fault for Stanway’s first goal last weekend and is increasingly looking like a liability between the sticks for Rovers.
The manager hopes he will regain some of his early season form, but admitted there is no back up goalkeeper at the New Croft.
“He’s suffering from a lack of confidence at the minute – at the beginning of the season he was fantastic, pulling off good saves, and he should be coming out and commanding the six yard box,” said Hammatt.
“We’ll give him the chance to return to form and hopefully he can turn a corner.”
For all the latest sport see today’s (Thursday, February 21) Echo.