BRIDPORT manager Chris Herbst believes the Bees are experiencing one of their toughest spells of the 2023/24 season ahead of visiting Bovey Tracey on Saturday (3pm).

Herbst’s men remain third in the South West Peninsula League Premier East table but have not won for three league games, stretching back to the miraculous 6-4 win at Teignmouth in mid-December.

And the Bees are also carrying a number of injuries, particularly in attack and defence, adding to Herbst’s headache.

Asked if the circumstances faced by his side amounted to one of the more challenging periods of the campaign, Herbst the Bridport News: “Yeah, I would say so.

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“It’s a tough one. You feel like you’re in a bit of a sticky patch but then you look at the league table and we’ve only lost three games. It’s not all bad.

“Times like now we’ve got to show our character and come out the other end of it with three points on Saturday.

“We’ve got to take it game by game, that’s the big thing for me.”

Bridport beat Bovey Tracey 3-2 in the reverse fixture but the Bees needed a stirring fightback from 2-0 down to take all three points on that occasion.

“They’re a very good side and probably should be higher up in the league,” Herbst admitted.

“We beat them 3-2 last time but had to really work for it. We’ve got to get on a winning run.

“Teams will be wary of us because they know we’ve improved from last year.”

Bridport skipper Luke King returns but striker Sol Ayunga (shin and ankle) is out for a minimum of four weeks. Tom Richardson and Ryan Gall have both trained this week.

Herbst added: “That’s gutting. It’s his ligaments. Where he got caught on his shin, he’s gone over on his ankle.

“He sent me a photo of it on Sunday evening and it’s huge. He went to A&E, it’s a nasty one and he’s got three stud marks halfway up his shin.

“That’s frustrating for me when the ref said there was no studs involved. So, we’ve got to go now without Sol.

“Fred (Parsons) played up front and played well, Jonesy (Brayden Jones) they’ll work together well and Brad (Rowe) looked sharp in training so we’ve got options.

“Obviously, we want Sol because you want everyone to pick from.”

Elsewhere, Adam Diaz and James Cox are unavailable.