Micky Chapman admits he is more than happy to hear players complaining if they are left out of starting line-up for the Trawlerboys’ vital run-in.

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With eight games to go – including tonight’s home game against Kingstonian – the chase for promotion from the Ryman League Premier Division soon turns from a marathon to a sprint.

It’s a time when players need to be at their peak, mentally as well as physically, and Chapman is confident the Blues’ squad is up for the challenge that lies ahead.

What is more difficult is keeping them all happy as Chapman, fellow joint manager Ady Gallagher and director of football Craig Fleming get every last ounce out of their resources. “I think the hardest job in football when you have a strong squad is to keep everybody happy,” said Chapman. “At any level they want to be in the team, they want to be involved – and if they are involved they are happy. If they are not involved then they are going to be unhappy.

“We trust the players and they have to trust us to manage them and sometimes give them a rest, take them out when we feel right.

“You never want a player to be happy when they are dropped or left out of the squad or put on the bench if they have been playing.

“You don’t want them to be happy about it, but you expect them to understand, and as long as you are honest with players you can’t be more than that. Me, Flem and Ady are honest with them and they are honest with us and that’s important.”

Lowestoft’s strength in depth was proved on Saturday when they were able to name match-winner Joe Francis, Michael Frew and Nathan Stone on the bench.

“When you look at the quality that was left out on Saturday, whether it was due to knocks or they were just not selected, it is a difficult job to manage, but it is part and parcel of the game,” Chapman added.

Billericay don’t have a midweek fixture, but second-placed AFC Hornchurch – three points ahead of Lowestoft from a game more – are at home to Margate tonight.

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