GARRY Haylock was looking on the bright side after Hayes & Yeading United went down 1-0 to Chelmsford City in the opening game of the Blue Square Conference South season.
Haylock's plans were thrown into confusion by injuries to Steve Perkins and Peter Collins in particular, as well as an administrative problem which meant Neil Martin's loan deal from Exeter City could not be arranged in time.
Having what amounted to three central defenders unavailable and
James Mulley filling in as a result, not to mention midfielder Will Hendry's suspension spilling over from last season, it was a decidedly young and makeshift United side that slipped to a narrow defeat to the Ryman League champions.
"We had a lot of players out and some really quality players not available," said Haylock. "I think with any team if you take four or five of the main players out you will feel it.
"While it's disappointing to get beaten I can't be too disappointed about it because we'll play worse than that and win games.
"They (Chelmsford) had a lot more experience.
"We weren't great the first half and they got the goal and they were very well disciplined.
"They sat in and said to us 'break us down' and we couldn't.
"I'd be surprised if they got promoted because they lacked a bit of flair but they'll cause a lot of teams problems."
On the plus side the manager was encouraged by his players' fitness levels and he believes once his absentees return United can really start their season.
Martin and Hendry were likely to start away to Team Bath last night (Tuesday) and Perkins faced a late fitness test.
Collins (ankle) might be fit for Saturday's trip to Worcester City butToby Little (knee) and Leon Solomon (toe) will not be.
Worcester, transferred south after finishing mid-table in Conference North last year, beat Bishop's Stort-ford in their opening game and then St Albans, watched by Hay-lock.
"They've got a centre forward (Mark Adaggio) I think looks really good," said the United boss. "It would not surprise me if before the end of August a Conference team comes in for him.
"Two Conference managers were there that I know of and I hope they'll take him before Saturday!"
Haylock does not plan to make any more signings in the immediate future but he will reassess his squad at the end of month.