BRIGHTLINGSEA Regent Reserves boss Lee Clark has admitted having "major" concerns about the number of games his young players have faced in the opening weeks of the season.

The R's are scheduled to play their ninth Thurlow Nunn League first division south fixture tonight, at Little Oakley.

Barkingside, the team directly below them in the table, have only played two league fixtures, two others have played three times and seven others have played four times.

Regent have played more than anyone else in the division and Clark is worried the schedule may "take its toll".

"One of my major worries is the number of games we're playing at the moment," he said.

"We're not a professional outfit and don't pay our players.

"I'm worried this schedule is going to take its toll on them.

"We've already played more games than anyone else.

"We've got another game tonight and we'll have played ten matches after Saturday.

"The league are concerned about the weather and postponements during the winter months, which is why they top-load the fixtures in these early weeks.

"But it's totally wrong. We'll reach a point where we have weeks off - maybe months - and that doesn't make sense."

Regent have won two, drawn two and lost four of their opening eight fixtures.

They lost 1-0 at home to Harwich and Parkeston on Saturday and will hope to get back to winning ways at the Memorial Ground tonight.

"We played a lot of good football," said Clark.

"We were probably the better footballing side but possession doesn't win you the game.

"We could have drawn the match and should have won it.

"Harwich scored from a set-piece, which was disappointing, but we have to take the positives.

"The lads did really well and the fact they were so disappointed shows how far they've come.

"We're playing well and we're not the whipping boys.

"We've become a competitive side in the division.

"People know they're going to have a hard game against us and things look good.

"I'm a lot happier now than I was this time last year.

"We know we shouldn't really be here, having finished second from bottom last season.

"We should have been relegated and I guess surviving should be our goal this season.

"We're punching above our weight. 100%.

"We're a Border League side playing step six football in the Thurlow Nunn League.

"But after being given a lifeline, and in light of the start we've made, I believe we should aim higher. Why not?

"We should be aiming for mid-table and then we can reassess it at Christmas.

"We have to show that we belong here and can compete and we're not a million miles from a side like Harwich.

"We want to cement ourselves in the division and upset a few people along the way."