Lowestoft Town director of football Craig Fleming remains confident the Blues will still be fighting it out at the top end of the table despite a difficult week for his depleted Blues side.

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Without eight regular first team players, Lowestoft went down to defeat at home to Bognor last weekend before losing at Lewes on Tuesday evening when the Blues played the second half with 10 men after Joe Francis’ sending off.

Hastings come to Crown Meadow tomorrow with the Trawlerboys in danger of losing touch with the promotion pack but Fleming is adamant his side will be in the championship mix at the end of the season.

“If you take eight senior players out of any side then you are going to struggle – even Manchester United would struggle if you took eight first teamers out of their squad,” said Fleming, who this week managed to add goalkeeper Andrew Plummer to the Blues squad. “That’s where we’re at – it’s just a case of hanging in there at the moment. In years gone by we have started the season like a train and run out of steam – I’m very hopeful that if we can get the players back that we can do the reverse. It’s still very early in the season.

“If we had all our players available to us then we would be right in the mix – I’m very confident of that.

“We have not had everyone available to us for a long time but that’s football and you can’t make excuses. You just have to get on with it and cope the best you can. We’ve just got to stick together and we will come through it.”

Tuesday’s loss was a bitter pill to swallow for Lowestoft with Francis going from hero to zero after putting his side ahead with a sumptuous free-kick before seeing red for two bookable offences before half-time. Lewes found a winner 11 minutes from time and Fleming believes it would have been a different story if the Blues had their full quota.

“The sending off changed the game completely – we were pretty comfortable up to that point,” he said. “When you are down to 10 men the first thing you’ve got to do is make sure you don’t make it easy for the opposition. We did that at Braintree and we did the same on Tuesday but I think in the end tiredness played a part in their winner. It was disappointing because they weren’t carving us open by any means.”

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