Hemel Hempstead Town will be looking to bounce back quickly from Monday night’s FA Cup disappointment as they head to Dartford in the league on Saturday.
The Tudors were knocked out of the cup by Sutton United in Monday’s third qualifying round replay, but were left to rue a costly refereeing decision.
Dean Brennan’s side cannot afford to dwell on the result, however, as they make the journey to Dartford for Saturday’s National League South fixture.
“We know Dartford are a good side and there was nothing in it when we played them early on in the season, apart from Hawks’ (Oliver Hawkins) header and he was outstanding on the day,” said Brennan.
“It’ll be a tough game, a tough place to go, but it’s another great stadium to play football and it’s a game we are looking forward to – let’s see if we can bounce back.
“Dartford have got a really good centre-forward, similar to Hawkins, who is tough to handle. We’ve got to stop the supply line to him.
“They’ve got a half decent experienced side – even though they’ve got a lot of young players, they have a few players who played in the National League for them last season and it’ll be a tough match.
“I think they have only won one of their last seven, but within those matches they have only lost by one goal. So it’s a tough, tough game, and they are going to be looking to bounce back as well because results haven’t gone their way recently.
“We are going to have to play really well, but if we can keep up our standards, I think we can win.
“I think we’ve scored enough goals, but I’m a bit disappointed with our defensive displays at the moment and we have got to get better.
“I want to be at the top of the table and challenging for the title, but at the moment we are eighth and that’s probably where we deserve to be.”
Brennan knows his side can’t afford to look backwards, but admitted his players were still hurting from Monday night.
“It still lingers a little bit because of the manner of the defeat and the refereeing decision,” said the Tudors boss. “We still feel that was a massive decision within the game.
“Full credit to Sutton in the second half, they tried to come out and kill the game, which they did really when they got their second goal. Good luck to them in the next round, but we do feel a bit aggrieved.
“We had a penalty in the league game which I felt was a little harsh, but whether it has evened itself out, I’m not sure. The referee said he would ring me and give me an apology, but I’ve still not had that.
“But there’s no point crying over spilled milk and we just move onto Saturday now which is another big game for us.”
Tudors striker Jamie Slabber trained this morning, but remains unavailable for Saturday – Brennan is hoping he will be fit to make the squad for next Saturday’s game against Concord Rangers.
Ed Asafu-Adjaye is still sidelined with a long-term knee injury, but Mo Shariff is available for selection following an illness.
Jack Smith (calf) and Matty Spring (groin) have both picked up muscle strains, and the pair will be assessed on Saturday morning prior to the game.
New loan signing Noor Husin – from Championship side Reading - goes straight into the Hemel starting XI.