Eastbourne Borough boss Garry Wilson admits his side were out-muscled as his young guns received a rude awakening to life in the Blue Square South.
It all looked so promising after a tremendous 5-0 victory against Bromley at Priory Lane last week.
But a heavy 3-0 defeat at Welling quickly followed by a dismal Bank Holiday Monday 3-1 home loss to Chelmsford has delivered a large dose of reality back to Priory Lane.
After overseeing his side’s two defeats against two teams that will no doubt be challenging at the top of the table, Wilson accepts his men have to cope better with the more physical aspects of the Blue Square Bet South.
He said, “We were out-muscled to be honest. When you lose two powerful guys like Eddie Hutchinson and Gary Elphick you are going to struggle against these teams.
“We need the older heads around to help the younger players.
“Welling will be up there at the end of the season and Chelmsford have reached the play-off finals for the last three years.
“These were always going to be two tough games but at least now the lads know what this league is all about. We know we have to stand up and be stronger.
“We have played the best sides in this division already. It would have been nice to have had the experienced players available but you can’t pick when you play these teams, you just have to go with what you have.”
On Saturday, Boro’ welcome old rivals Havant and Waterlooville to Priory Lane.
Wilson’s men have enjoyed some epic duels in the past with their south coast counterparts and the Boro’ boss expects more of the same tomorrow.
Havant, often dubbed the perennial underachievers of the Blue Square South, have not enjoyed the best of starts to the season. They are in 16th spot after six games with two wins and four defeats.
On Saturday they hammered Truro 4-1 thanks to a brace from striker Scott Jones but suffered defeat by the same margin to Salisbury on Bank Holiday Monday.
Like Boro’ inconsistency has been a problem and both sides will hope to get back on track tomorrow.
Wilson added, “We have enjoyed some great games with Havant in the past. They are a strong outfit and we know we have to stand up to that.
“We have to pluck out a result on Saturday to keep us in touch at the top. We can’t let too much of a gap open up.”
Once again Borough will be without the physical attributes of midfielder turned striker Eddie Hutchinson.
He serves the last of his three match ban for a red card received on the opening day of the season.
No-nonsense centre half Gary Elphick is rated as 50-50 after pulling up with a calf injury at Welling last Saturday.
Darren Baker is available for selection despite being sent off against Chelmsford on Monday for two yellow cards.
Ben Austin (groin), Ross Treleaven (leg), and Gary Hart (shoulder) remain sidelined.
Left back Sonny Cobbs should be fit to play despite complaining of a tight hamstring and striker Carl Rook will likely retain his place in the side alongside Ben Watson.
Rook continues to ease his way back to full fitness following a groin operation.