JOHN Coventry is hoping to have more players available as East Thurrock United look to bounce back from their 2-1 defeat at Merstham in a local derby with Bowers & Pitsea tomorrow.

Although Frankie Merrifield gave Rocks an early lead in Surrey, second half efforts from Delano Sam-Yorke and Omar Folkes ensured Merstham would overcome their threadbare visitors.

And Coventry admits he felt his lack of options for the Isthmian Premier League clash proved decisive.

“We are struggling for numbers at the moment,” said the East Thurrock boss.

“Although we had three subs on the bench, they shouldn’t have been there because none of them were fit.

“The starting line-up was not my first choice starting line-up and they had three shots and scored two, whereas we had a lot more chances but only scored one.

“We were sloppy out of possession and let them score two goals.

“Bowers have carried their momentum from last season into this season and it will be a difficult game.

“Hopefully we will see more of what I have got available to me.”

East Thurrock created a number of openings before taking a 14th minute lead at Merstham.

The referee pointed to the spot after Steve Sheehan was man-handled and Merrifield dispatched the penalty.

Warren Thomas, one of four Rocks making their first start for the club, drew a fine save from Matte Pierson.

East Thurrock created further chances but the missed opportunities proved pivotal.

Merstham levelled matters just two minutes after the interval as Sam-Yorke cut inside and curled a shot past Rocks goalkeeper Jack Giddens.

And the hosts grabbed what proved to be the winner just before the hour mark.

Folkes capitalised after hesitation in the East Thurrock defence and fired Merstham in front.