A FRIDAY night game under the Milbank Stadium floodlights is the perfect way for his team to get back on track in Thurlow Nunn League division one south, according to Halstead Town manager Mark McLean.

May & Baker will be the visitors to Halstead’s home tonight (kick-off 7.45pm), with the hosts looking to get back to winning ways in the league after three back-to-back defeats.

Halstead, who will then be hosting Haverhill Borough in the First Division Knockout Cup on Tuesday (kick-off 7.45pm), had their latest division one south setback in a 3-0 defeat at leaders Lopes Tavares last weekend, but McLean said his players understand why things haven’t been going their way.

The Humbugs boss knows he has a squad capable of getting promoted this year, but a crippling list of injuries have hampered them in recent weeks and although they have players coming back to fitness now, McLean said it would take a while for them to be back at their peak.

He said: “I’m expecting more from us against May & Baker than we had against Lopes Tavares.

“We had six boys on the pitch last weekend who had not been playing, but they all had good run-outs and will be better for that and for being able to train this week. I know there will be a reaction because I know these players well enough and I know how much it bothered them to lose like that on Saturday.

“I explained to them what had happened and why we lost like we did and they understand what has gone on.

“They know they are playing catch up and they have to work harder and step on the gas here if they are to get their mojo back.

“But I don’t think we could ask for a better game than this to respond.

“It will be under the lights at home on a Friday night and we all want it to come around quickly.

“The players know they just need to get out there now and action it.

“They won’t be at peak levels yet, but I want them to be more clinical in their decision making and I know we’ll be alright if we can do that.”

McLean said he had no fresh injury concerns for the game against May & Baker, but Jamie Baker and Callum Vincent were both likely to be unavailable.

The defeat at Lopes Tavares saw Halstead slip to fifth in the division one south table, but even though he knows the defeats his team have suffered so far won’t help their promotion push, he knows his team can come back strongly.

He added: “If you look at the table, there are only five teams who are on a minus goal difference and I think that shows how competitive the league is at the moment.

“Results are proving that and everyone is beating everyone else so it is very tight.

“I’m devastated that we have lost four games.

“Losing that many in a season would frustrate me so to lose that many after nine games is very disappointing, but we know why it is going on and why we are where we are at the moment.

“What we need to do is be strong and face it.

“People on the outside, who don’t know, may look at it and take a view on it, but there is a reason why we are where we are and we will come through it.

“We know we will be better for the experience.”

McLean also feels that players who have been elevated from the club’s reserves and seen first-team action during this tricky injury-hit spell will see the benefits of their exposure at the higher level.

He said: “When I took this job, I gave a commitment that I would not just bring players in and I would bring players through from our reserves where I could and I’ve stuck to that.

“It would have been easy to go out and bring new players in with the position we have been in, but I have wanted to use reserves where I could and I think that will benefit the club in the long run.”