Hastings United head into a crucial relegation tussle with player-manager Sean Ray convinced they will soon be climbing the table again.
The meeting at The Pilot Field today (Saturday) will be between the only teams in the Ryman Premier who failed to pick up a single point over the festive period.
Hastings, who sit just outside the drop zone, lost to Lewes (0-1), East Thurrock United (1-2) and Margate (1-4), while second-from-bottom Aveley also tasted defeat against East Thurrock (0-3) and Margate (1-3), along with Concord Rangers (0-3).
“We need to make sure that we win, simple as that,” said Ray. “I know we will get it right. I know we will start climbing the table. I know the players can play at this level.”
The U’s may have suffered a heavy defeat away to Margate on Monday but the football they served up was a considerable improvement on their previous two performances.
“Against Lewes I got it wrong and I’ve held my hands up over that but against East Thurrock I think the players need to take responsibility. I asked for a response against Margate and I thought I got it,” Ray went on.
“We had enough chances to have got something out of the game. In fact we had enough chances to have won the game. If we can play like that, and with better defending, we will win more than we lose.”
At the back, Hastings were all at sea in the early stages at Hartsdown Park and found themselves two-down after only seven minutes.
Danny Ellis, pictured, is a doubt after taking a knock on his ankle but Matt Whitehead is available after dropping out on Monday morning through illness. Forward Billy Medlock has returned to Eastbourne Borough after just four appearances.
TODAY’S SENIOR FOOTBALL FIXTURES (3PM UNLESS STATED)
Ryman League, Premier Division: Hastings Utd v Aveley.
Sussex County League, Division 1: Lingfield v Rye Utd; Peacehaven & Telscombe v Sidley Utd.
Division 2: Bexhill Utd v East Preston; Little Common v Hailsham Town 1.45; Rustington v Westfield 1.45.