No points yet, but no surrender. Jamie Howell takes his new-look Eastbourne Borough side to Hampton and Richmond tomorrow (Saturday, 3pm) with a promise to supporters that he will not change his principles.
After defeats to Braintree and Havant, the Sports boss faces another big test in south-west London, but he has faith in his players and in how he wants to play.
“If I had sat and watched at Havant as a supporter I’d have been disappointed too and I promise you I feel for our supporters, but I’m sure they understand. We are still going to think positive and play positive.
“I could be more conservative, get more people behind the ball and play for scraps but I’m not really like that. I woke up on Wednesday morning not as despondent as I could have been, but not in the faintest bit complacent. We’ll get it right – I’ve been in this situation more than once before – last season at Bognor I took one point from the first three games and we won promotion.”
Jamie urgently needs his team to cut out the yellow and red cards. “The desire is there, the commitment is there, the decision-making can be better, no silly goals, no rash tackles.
“At Havant I’m not saying that we’d have won the game if we’d kept eleven on the pitch but we’d have been in with a shout. These haven’t been bad or nasty tackles and we are not that sort of team, but we have to cut out the silly or unnecessary fouls – we must work on that.”
Howell will take the same squad to Hampton, but Conor Henderson will not be among them. The midfielder signed on non-contract forms – had also played pre-season games at Barrow and is currently trying his luck in Hungary. “If we do get him back, he’s a quality player and an excellent acquisition for us – it’s a bit of a patience game. It’s frustrating because that is a key area where we’re missing, so if not Conor, then we have a little bit in the piggy bank.
“What still pleased me at Havant, even in defeat, was the work-rate and the desire, and I told the players that those aspects were first-class – against Braintree I was a little bit disappointed with that aspect.”
but at Havant we got the intensity back, we gave it a go, we finished the game strongly – those are qualities we need, and we’ll take that forward to Hampton.”