BASINGSTOKE Town manager Jason Bristow is backing his side to bounce back from the disappointment of losing to Farnborough when highly-fancied Ebbsfleet United visit The Soccer AM Stadium.
Town led local rivals Farnborough 1-0 with just three minutes remaining on Monday, but they then conceded two late goals to suffer a heartbreaking defeat.
Despite that loss, Basingstoke have made a good start to the season, taking nine points from their first five games to sit fourth in the table.
Next up is a visit from pre-season title favourites Ebbsfleet, who endured a poor bank holiday weekend, taking just one point from their two games and failing to score.
Both sides will go into Saturday’s game (kick-off 3pm) with a point to prove, and Bristow is hoping to see his side pick up another win.
“It will be another really tough game and just like after the first game of the season, we need to bounce back,” he said. “We have to put Monday behind us, learn from the mistakes we made and put in a performance that is much better.
“Ebbsfleet will be looking to do the same. They are a good, strong side and are one of the favourites so they will come to our place looking for three points.”
Monday’s defeat highlighted Basingstoke’s lack of a defensive-minded midfielder capable of helping the side close out a game, and Bristow admits that he is still in talks to bring in such a player.
“We need a different type of midfield player, and that is something that we are looking to rectify,” he said. “If we had won 1-0 on Monday, we wouldn’t be talking about it, but it is a problem we have got.
“We are still speaking to a couple of people, but it is taking time.”
Town have signed Marcus Johnson-Schuster, who has been duel registered with Southern League outfit Swindon Supermarine, while fellow defender Robbie Rice should recover from a cut just above his eye in time to play on Saturday.
One area where Bristow has plenty of options is in attack. Chris Flood has impressed in the early stages of the season, but Liam Enver-Marum has scored just once.
His place in the side could come under threat from Nicholas Bignall, but Bristow has moved to defend the man tasked with finding the net for Town this season.
“Nicholas is a good option for us and made an impact when he came on against Farnborough, but Liam was unlucky a couple of times, while he had a hand in all three goals we scored over the weekend,” Bristow said. “He is getting chances and people are expecting goals after what he did last season, but they will come.”