EAST Thurrock United manager John Coventry admits he is taking a hugely depleted squad to league favourites Ebbsfleet United tomorrow.

Rocks face arguably their toughest task of the season across the Thames, with Fleet once again proving the team to beat in the division.

However, East Thurrock could have as few as 12 players for the trip with a host of big names either ruled out or serious doubts.

Sam Higgins, Ryan Sammons, Ben Marlow and James Walker will miss out through injury, with Reece Harris only rated as 30 per cent likely to play.

And Coventry said it is a tough ask for his team.

“I have a serious injury problem and it is simply a case of getting a 11 men on the pitch first and foremost,” said the Rocks chief.

“It is far from ideal preparation as we all know Ebbsfleet are a good side but they would have been a good side if we had a full squad.

“We did well against them at home and they are probably favourites to go up. We are trying to compete and we will do just that, no matter what.

“It is a bit of a nightmare though. We had a good first half of the season but we have tailed off slightly. Players have left and the structure of the team has changed slightly.

“We know we are not the team that competed in the first 20 odd games of the season.”

Well-resourced Ebbsfleet are currently top of the standings, although there is literally nothing separating them and second-placed Maidenhead United - with both on the same amount of points, having scored and conceded the same amount of goals - albeit Fleet have played one game more.

And Rocks will be happy with a point, as former midfielder Kane Ferdinand’s header ensured a 1-1 draw.

Rocks were narrowly edged out by Poole Town last weekend but have shown glimpses of their early season form in recent weeks, as they bid to secure the three more points Coventry believes will secure their league status.