HOLLAND FC first-team coach Steve Davis has challenged his side’s attacking players to fill the boots of hotshot Steve Eaton.

Eaton is about to serve a three-match ban after being sent off in Saturday’s 3-1 Thurlow Nunn League defeat at home to Woodbridge Town.

He is eligible for tonight’s First Division Knockout Cup quarter-final at Whitton United but will miss this weekend’s trip to Debenham LC, followed by the next two matches against Needham Market Reserves and Diss Town.

Davis admits it is a blow but believes his club have enough strength in depth to compensate for Eaton’s absence.

“It’s a big shame because Steve’s a brilliant player up front for us,” said the club coach, who works alongside joint-managers Jon Willis and Rob Batten.

“He’s a great finisher and a real work horse.

“Others feed off that so he’s going to be a big loss, but we have to find a way to cope without him.

“We believe we’ve got a team and a squad capable of doing that, though, and it gives someone else a chance.

“If Steve can’t play, someone else has an opportunity to come in and do a job.

“It’s their position to keep then and any manager wants competition for places.

“It can only be a good and healthy thing.”

Holland lost 3-1 at home to title-chasing Woodbridge on Saturday, with Fin O’Reilly grabbing the hosts’ consolation after a couple of first-half efforts from the Woodpeckers.

The Suffolk side then notched a third before Eaton was sent off and Keelan Sorrell missed a penalty for Holland.

“I thought we were unlucky, in the end,” added Davis.

“We were missing a couple of key players but if we’d taken our chances, it could have been different.

“With the rub of the green, we might have got a draw or even nicked it.

“It’s fine margins at this level but we’ve come on leaps and bounds in the last few weeks and certainly did ourselves proud on Saturday."

“You can see that from the two matches against Woodbridge.

“A couple of weeks ago they beat us 5-0, when we were still in a bit of a bedding-in period, but this time we were unfortunate to lose 3-1.”

Davis is expecting a tight game at Whitton tonight - closer than when the sides met in a league contest on February 3 and Holland lost 2-0.

“Whitton beat us at their ground but we’re stronger now and have come on a lot since then,” he said.

“In the cup you’ve got nothing to lose, either.

“We can go there with confidence, knowing they’re expected to win.

“We’re not but we’ll see if we can go there and get a result.

“We’re really looking forward to it.”

Elsewhere tonight, WIVENHOE TOWN have a premier division date at home to title-chasing COGGESHALL TOWN.