HARWICH and Parkeston manager Kieron Shelley says he and his players must ride the storm while they wait for key personnel to become available again.

First-team regulars including skipper Jordan Heath, brother Ryan Heath, Joe Knight, Michael Murray and Rory Harman are missing at the moment, along with Needham Market loanee Connor McLaughlin.

They are sidelined through injury, suspension or unavailability and having such a depleted squad largely accounted for Saturday's 7-1 defeat at home to White Ensign.

It means Harwich are win-less in their last six league and cup outings, since beating Wormley Rovers on October 19.

However, Shelley is refusing to panic and says he was always anticipating a tough spell, with key players out of the equation.

"We've got several players injured and unavailable at the moment," he said.

"We're rushing others back and throwing them in at the deep end, asking them to play 90 minutes when they're perhaps only capable of 30 or 35.

"But we can't scream or shout or feel sorry for ourselves.

"This is our squad and we always knew we were going to suffer, with so many missing.

"It's about riding it out for the next couple of weeks and making the best of an unfortunate situation.

"I'm certainly not panicking.

"We're on a bad run.

"It's tough at the moment and no-one likes losing but the only people who can get us out of it are ourselves.

"We have to hope that players coming back in the next couple of weeks gives us the kick we need."

Sean Bartlett gave Harwich an early lead in Saturday's Thurlow Nunn League first division south contest at the Gwinnell and Sons Royal Oak.

However, that was as good as it got and the free-scoring visitors ran in seven goals without reply.

To run salt into the Shrimpers' wounds, Dan Clarke was sent off - meaning another suspension.

"It was one of those things," said Shelley.

"We got badly punished and there's no denying we were abysmal in certain areas, making bad decisions.

"But I still don't think it was a 7-1.

"Genuinely, we could have been 4-0 up after 20 or 25 minutes.

"It only looked like there would be one winner.

"We took the lead early on and had further chances to give ourselves a cushion and something to fight for.

"But we always knew the boys were going to run out of puff, because of their fitness levels, and that's exactly what happened.

"White Ensign came fully loaded with six subs and their manager said afterwards that they see us as one of the stronger teams in the league.

"They expect us to be up there in the hunt and that's why they brought a big squad."

Harwich, who are fifth from bottom in the table, are away to Benfleet on Saturday.