The Rocks return to one of last season’s few graveyards on Saturday aiming to get their title bid back on track.
They lost 4-0 at Faversham and had defender Perry Ryan sent off a year ago this week – but travel to Kent confident of a more positive outcome this time.
The Rocks anticipate a tough test as they continue to shuffle their squad to cover departures, injuries and suspensions.
Full-backs Jon Marzetti and James Crane are still banned while Ben Andrews, Tim Bond and Lewis Ide are all still some way recovering from injury. Striker Allan Tait has returned to Kingstonian.
But the managers insist they still have the quality to build on last weekend’s home 2-1 victory over Corinthian Casuals – their first win of 2012 and first in four.
Joint boss Darin Killpartrick said: “It’s so hard to get the team to play as fluently as we have been. But it’s our jobs to do that.
“It’s about getting the confidence back again now. The competition to get out of this league is insane. It’s going to be a real difficult fight for us.”
Joint manager Jamie Howell said he was pleased with how new boys Ashley Robinson and Sonny Cobbs were settling in, but felt there was more to come from both. He also challenged Terry Dodd to help them get over Jason Prior’s departure by rediscovering the early-season form that saw him score 12 goals in his first 15 games.
Forward Steve Harper is back in contention while Callum Saunders is pushing for a start after some lively performances as a sub.
Howell said: “We’ve done okay since we lost at Whitehawk. That was a setback but since then we’ve not lost, and the Cornithian win was just what we needed in awful windy conditions.
“I think last season’s defeat at Faversham will be in our minds on Saturday. We were well and truly beaten that night and know we can’t take them lightly this time. But we had a good training session on Tuesday and have confidence.”
Next Wednesday the Rocks host the rearranged Sussex Senior Cup quarter-final against Brighton.
GREG MILES & STEVE BONE