Lee Bradbury insists the Hawks have to show they care as they return to Ryman League premier division action at Burgess Hill Town tonight (7.45pm).
Saturday’s 7-0 FA Cup defeat at Ebbsfleet United hurt the manager’s pride and he wants to see an immediate reaction from his players.
The Hawks were handicapped by the sending off of Lee Molyneaux on the stroke of half-time, but Bradbury was still unhappy to see his side lose so heavily.
‘I won’t have a team that throws the towel in,’ he said.
‘That was the most disappointing aspect about our FA Cup exit.
‘Towards the end I felt we gave up.
‘I am now looking for my players to take their frustrations out on Burgess Hill in the league.
‘My pride was hurt at Ebbsfleet and I know the players feel the same.
‘We gave Ebbsfleet far too much respect and played with too much fear.
‘I want my players to be far braver on the ball. They need to go to Burgess Hill and show just why they are second in the league.
‘There is a lot of pent-up anger we need to get out of our system.’
In the league the Hawks have not been beaten since their opening-day defeat at Leiston.
Gaining promotion back to the National League South has been the priority since the first day of the season.
The side showed against Worthing in their last league game just how important that is to them.
Trailing 2-0 at the break, they fought back to claim a 3-2 win courtesy of a stoppage-time goal from Molyneaux.
It is that sort of commitment that Bradbury will expect from his side in Sussex tonight.
Having conceded nine goals in their past two games, Bradbury might be considering making a few changes.
The experienced figure of Brian Stock might be preferred in midfield.
Ed Harris, who was sent on as a first-half substitute after Molyneaux was sent off at the weekend, could return to the starting line-up.
It is a case of whether Harris is ready after missing the whole of last season with a knee injury.
Wes Fogden is another who could be considered for a recall after injury.
With his squad boasting a clean bill of health, Bradbury has plenty of options available to change things.
‘Burgess Hill will be coming into the game in a confident mood after their good FA Cup win at the weekend,’ added the manager.
‘They will fancy their chances on the back of our bad defeat.
‘It is up to us to make sure we make better decisions and ensure we put our FA Cup debacle behind us.
‘We have to show that we are capable of picking ourselves up and getting straight back on the horse.’
Hawks: Young, Strugnell, Harris, Molyneaux, Woodford, Williams, Stock, Fogden, Lewis, Barker, Paterson, Prior, Tarbuck, Robinson, Hayter, Rutherford, Medway