BRIGHTLINGSEA Regent boss Tom Rothery wants his players to show their steel and end the year on a high.

The R’s have a Bostik League premier division date at home to Tonbridge Angels tomorrow (kick-off 3pm) - desperate to halt a run of three straight defeats.

After 4-2 losses at Margate and Hendon, they were edged out 3-2 by Needham Market on Boxing Day.

Now Rothery has challenged his players to “come through the other side” and prove they are good enough for step three football.

“I always knew this was going to be a tough month and was never under any illusions,” said the Regent boss.

“But the last three games have been frustrating because we’ve played well and competed - only for basic errors and individual mistakes to cost us dear.

“The Needham game was a case in point, because we gifted them a goal after just nine minutes.

“It was the worst possible start and made a difficult task even harder.

“It’s very unlike us to give soft goals away and it’s uncharacteristic of teams I’ve been involved with before, because I consider one of my strengths getting sides organised.

“However, one of the positives is that we are competing and scoring goals.

“It’s not like we’re being outclassed tactically or coming up against sides that are much better than us.

“The players have been asked questions that they need to find answers to.

“It’s become a little bit of a mentality thing, as far as I’m concerned, and we’ve got to learn lessons.

“They need to come out the other side and show they’re good enough for this level.

“I genuinely believe they are, but it’s certainly been a tough run of games in a short space of time.”

Regent are down to bare bones for tomorrow’s clash.

Jack Newman is expected to spend two to three weeks on the sidelines after suffering a stress fracture of his foot during the early stages at Hendon.

Jake Turner faces a long spell out after suffering what could be cruciate injury against Needham.

Sam Ashford could be sidelined for four to six weeks due to a hamstring problem.

Harry McDonald is touch and go because of a dead leg while Ricky Griggs was ill for the Boxing Day game but could return against Tonbridge.

“It’s certainly left us short and I’ve been scrambling round for players in the latter part of the week,” said Rothery.

“But it’s not easy, because they have to be good enough to play at this level and we’re also operating with a low-ish budget.

“It’s tough but there’s no point moaning.

“We just have to get on with it and it certainly won’t be easy against a big, physical and experienced side like Tonbridge.

“Hopefully our next win comes sooner rather than later, though, and a positive result in one of our next two games could be absolutely massive.”

Meanwhile, Rothery, whose side visit Lowestoft Town on New Year’s Day (3pm), has sung the praises of recent recruit Louie Newland.

The former FC Clacton man impressed when coming on as a substitute against Needham.

“Louie was excellent,” said the R’s boss.

“Having come on when we were two-down, he played brilliantly and helped settle us down.

“He barely put a foot wrong and was the one massive positive from Boxing Day.”