Team spirit will improve, vows Lowestoft Town chief
- Credit: Richard Land/Focus Images Ltd
Craig Fleming admits the spirit in the Lowestoft Town dressing room has been severely tested so far this season.
The second half of the Blues' promotion campaign saw the Trawlerboys' squad establish a bond that took them all the way from Ryman League also-rans to play-off champions.
However, that was always going to be challenged in the Conference North as the Blues try and find their place in the Step Two hierarchy.
A squad with a winning mentality built over the last six seasons has had to lower its sights and that transition was always going to be a difficult one to manage.
'We warned the lads at the start of the season that we were always going to be tested, but the most important thing is that we stick together,' said Fleming. 'It's always difficult for a team that's used to winning to make that adjustment to a level that we've not been used. But we know that when you start pointing fingers at each other then you're in trouble.
'Have we got back to the atmosphere that we had in the dressing room towards the end of last season? Probably not...but we will.'
Lowestoft can at least put their travails in the league to one side when they go to Eastbourne Borough this afternoon in the third qualifying round of the FA Trophy.
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It is the 14th time in a row that the Blues have been drawn away in the FA Cup or Trophy and, given their failure to win on the road this season, Borough will be classed as favourites.
Tommy Widdrington's side sit in eighth position in the Conference South with designs on reclaiming the Conference Premier place they lost in 2010.
'It will be a tough game – they have got a few good results recently but they are playing at the same level as us albeit in the southern division,' added Fleming. 'It's almost unbelievable that we've been drawn away from home again. I think that goes against all the laws of probability! But we know what's at stake – it's a competition that we want to do well in and we will try to get a result.'
Lowestoft's physio remains over-worked with Chris Henderson (groin), Erkan Okay (groin) and Ashlee Jones (hamstring) all doubts ahead of the trip to Priory Lane. The Blues will also be without Lee Smith, inset, who is awaiting the results of a scan on his back, which he injured against Guiseley earlier this month.
'We've been really unfortunate when you look at a player like Lee Smith,' said Fleming. 'I thought he was superb in the couple of games he played for us since re-signing. He turned us from a decent footballing side to a really dangerous one. But his injury has hurt us and it kind of sums up our luck at the moment.'
The management team will make a late decision on whether to include the transfer-listed Jefferson Louis in their squad given the veteran striker would be cup-tied if he were to play.