HULLBRIDGE Sports boss Darren Manning is keen to enjoy success in the revamped Isthmian League Cup.

The competition is including a group stage for the first time and Sports have made a promising start, having beaten Witham Town and enjoyed a penalty shoot-out victory at Canvey Island.

And Manning, whose Hullbridge side are embarking on their maiden season in the fourth tier of non-league football, is keen to maintain that fine form when they make the short trip to Basildon United tonight.

“The Isthmian League Cup is a competition I want to do well in and win if we can,” said Manning.

“It would be great to finish top of the group before going into the knockout stages.

“Although I want to enjoy success, I have to manage the squad.

“That is the most important thing because I don’t want players to get injured as a result of overplaying them.”

Hullbridge head into the tonight’s local derby having recorded a comeback 3-1 win over Felixstowe & Walton United four days ago.

And Manning will be welcoming some players back into the fold after a spell on the sidelines.

Manning added: “We will make some changes and give some players a rest.

“Jamal Allen is back in the squad for the first time since the Canvey Island game.

“He won a lot of awards at the end of last season and it will be a big boost to have him available.

“Luke Hornsley will also be able to return to the fold after being forced out through illness.

“Callum Thompson may make his second start for the club following his move to us last month.”

Basildon have been struggling with injuries and suspensions since the start of the season.

And chief John Sussex is having to contend with even more absences after more lay-offs were suffered in the 1-1 draw with Heybridge Swifts at the weekend.

“Danny Norton dislocated his shoulder, while Jeffrey Cobblah turned his ankle,” confirmed Sussex.

“Gabby Adelowo played with a but of an injury and he will not be risked tonight.

“It was a bit disappointing that Tom Anderson had to pull out with a groin injury as well.

“Adam Vyse is still suspended as well, so we have a number of key players missing.

“I have got three under-18 players in the squad and we are juggling with what is left of our squad when it comes to putting a side together.

“We have big games coming up, like in the FA Trophy this weekend, so we don’t want to risk any players because we would rather have them available then.”