JOHN Coventry insists his East Thurrock United players must have the right mentality when they make the journey to Cheshunt tomorrow.

Rocks go into their latest Isthmian Premier League contest having suffered a 2-1 defeat to strugglers Wingate & Finchley despite dominating proceedings last time out.

And boss Coventry feels Rocks were guilty of easing off the pressure.

“It’s so hard to understand what’s going on,” said Coventry, whose side are 10th in the standings.

“We started the game well and looked comfortable 1-0 up.

“If it wasn’t for their goalkeeper, we would have been three or four goals to the good going into half-time.

“In the first 10 minutes of the second half it could have been five, six or seven.

“But we stepped off it in the last 15 minutes and we allowed them back into the game, which was massively disappointing.

“They thoroughly deserved their goals because of the way they handled the last 15 minutes and took their chances when we stepped off the gas, but it should never have got to that stage.

“There are a lot of questions that need answers and I will be looking for those answers this weekend.”

The defeat saw East Thurrock drop nine points adrift of the play-off spots, although they have three games in hand over Carshalton Athletic, who currently complete the top five.

Coventry has been made to contend with a threadbare squad during Rocks’ first season back in the third tier of non-league football following their relegation from the National League South last term.

And Coventry believes the fixtures are beginning to take their toll.

“We keep throwing away opportunities to creep into the top five,” added Coventry.

“If we win our games in hand, we can still be a contender for a play-off place.

“But having a small squad all season creeps up on you.

“We are relying on the same players every week.

“Since August, we have had the same group apart from one or two players.”

East Thurrock are facing a trip to Cheshunt, who are managed by former Billericay Town boss Craig Edwards.

Coventry has gone toe-to-toe with Edwards on numerous occasions, including three times this season.

"Craig has got a good side together at Cheshunt," admitted Coventry.

"He has improved them a lot and my players will need to give everything. If they don't roll their sleeves up, we will be beaten."