Horndean have skipper Tom Chapman back for their Wessex League premier division clash with Newport IoW at Five Heads Park tonight (7.45pm).
The centre-back missed the 5-0 FA Vase exit against Bemerton because of suspension.
And Deans manager Dave Carter admitted he was badly missed.
‘Tom is one of the best central defenders in our league and commands things at the back for us,’ he said.
‘We had to reshuffle in his absence and paid the price for defensive mistakes.
‘That’s what happens when you have midfield players filling in at the back.
‘It was a case of square pegs in round holes.
‘5-0 suggests it was a drubbing but it was nothing like that.
‘We had more chances than they did but they took theirs.
‘Now we have to forget about cups and get our act together in the league.’
Carter’s squad are still devastated by injuries and suspensions, though.
Chamal Fenelon and Joe Noakes are serving the final games of their three-match bans. Meanwhile, Alex Shepherd, Neil Perkins, Dan Martin and Torr Spicer are all still on the treatment table.
‘It is a nightmare situation but we have to get through it,’ said Carter.
‘We have a difficult run of games coming up, with six of our next eight matches against top sides.
‘Newport knocked us out of the FA Cup earlier in the season at their place and they are flying at the moment.
‘We are expecting a difficult evening.’
Hayling United have league leaders Downton in their sights at Hayling College tonight (7.45pm).
And assistant manager Mark Tigwell reckons it is no longer mission impossible.
‘We knocked leaders Christchurch off the top recently, so everything is possible,’ he said.
‘In that game we worked hard, matched them all over the pitch and didn’t allow them to play.
‘We also took our chances and will look to do the same again.
‘It won’t be easy but, with no-one expecting us to win, we have nothing to lose.’
The Humbugs welcome back Aaron Kinchen.