Batten down the hatches

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It’s hard to think of a more testing period in Eastbourne Borough’s recent history.

The chairman and mastermind of the entire club Len Smith remains in hospital recovering from a recent stroke.

Recent results on the pitch have been poor with a costly FA Cup exit to lowly East Thurrock swiftly followed by a 3-1 beating at bottom-of-the league outfit Hampton and Richmond.

And last week the club captain Ben Austin, who has been injured this season, became embroiled in a bitter battle of words with a section of supporters after criticising a small minority of Priory Lane fans in the press.

Testing times indeed at the Lane. Many expected a smoother start to the Blue Square South campaign. After signing the likes of Ben Watson, from Exeter, and Gary Hart, from Brighton, fans were optimistic of a promotion challenge and some much-needed cheer following their relegation from the Blue Square Premier last season. But as boss Garry Wilson prepares his mid table side for battle at Havant and Waterlooville tomorrow (Saturday) he has been forced to issue a rallying cry to players and supporters.

“The only way we can get through this is if we are all together and compete as one.” He pleaded.

“I know what I have to do to get things right and we are working hard to get results on the pitch.

“We need the fans and whole club behind us because that’s when we are at our best.”

Outspoken skipper Austin, who played 70 minutes of reserve team football this week, hit out against fans who have been giving the players abuse for below-par performances.

Wilson added, “I think Ben is desperate for the team to do well. He has been frustrated with his injury and perhaps he felt he had to say what he did.

“Obviously the fans have a right to have their say but we do need them all behind us.

“We know we have to play our part and if we get it right I’m sure the fans will back us.”

Flying winger Ross Treleaven could be in contention for a starting place after scoring a hat-trick for the reserves in midweek while Hart is rated at 50-50.

Wilson added, “This is a real test for us as Havant is always a very difficult place to go.

“We have been on a hiding to nothing lately. If we won we were expected to but lose and we get slaughtered - and we have been slaughtered. This is a chance to get back on track.”