You solve one crisis, and another one pops up. Eastbourne Borough manager Lee Bradbury must be scratching his head as he scratches for a defensive line-up, ahead of a tough trip to Bath City.
The Sports head westwards down the M4 tomorrow (Saturday) on their longest away journey of the season – and Bradbury finds his options limited. In a catastrophic afternoon against Slough Town last week, he lost three defenders. Full-back Tobi Adebayo-Rowling is sidelined for several weeks after breaking a bone in his foot, experienced centre-back Jordan Rose pulled up with a torn muscle, and young Reading loanee Roberto Nditi was sent off for two yellow cards.
Kiran Khinda-John should make a return after a mandatory break for a concussion injury, and Bradbury will make a late decision on fellow centre-back Ian Gayle, missing last week with a tweaked hamstring. But Nditi serves out a one-match suspension.
“It’s a kind of one in, one out at the moment,” Bradbury told the Herald, “and it’s quite frustrating. Jordan Rose, even in his twenty minutes against Slough, was a dominant figure and just what we needed, but we had to reshape at the back and it cost us. Most people felt Roberto was unfortunate, especially with the second yellow, but that is beyond our control.
“I do have one or two irons in the fire, but I can’t make any promises about new faces ahead of Bath City. But I can still field a squad full of battlers and full of experience. Remember that some of our best performances have come on the road.”
Apart from a 5-0 meltdown at Braintree, the Sports have looked solid away from home, with three goalless draws and a cruel 1-0 stoppge time defeat at Billericay. “I’m sure we would take a point,” declared the Gaffer. “Bath are another team around the top of the table but we can match them.”
Further ahead, Borough face a tricky FA Cup tie at Tonbridge Angels on Saturday week. “The draw could have been kinder,” admitted Bradbury. “We beat Tonbridge in early season, so they will be looking to settle that score. But against that, they are a known quantity which is often preferable to an unknown.
“I’d be looking for a draw at minimum up there, and bringing the tie back to Priory Lane. All of us, players and staff and supporters, know that we’ve not performed to our potential so far. Trust me, we are as impatient as the fans, and we can still turn this into a great season.
“We’ve had terrific travelling support so far, and I’d like to publicly thank the solid core of fans who take these journeys with us – including no doubt the long haul to Bath. We are all on the same side and in the same cause, and my players will bust a gut to repay your support!”