CHIPPENHAM Town manager Mike Cook admitted shock defeats like last weekend’s 1-0 loss away to Welling United can be expected from time to time with his squad already over-achieving.

The Bluebirds fell to an Ademola Oluwaseyi Abiodun Shokunbi strike shortly after half-time and dropped down to eighth in National League South as a result.

Previously on a three-game unbeaten run, Cook felt Chippenham had to maintain strong levels of form throughout February if they were to spring a surprise run at the play-offs come May.

However, a thinning squad that often includes several academy products requires patience, according to Cook, and lengthy unbeaten runs are unlikely to emerge this season with finances stretched.

Reflecting on Chippenham’s ninth league defeat of the season, Cook said: “We actually played quite well.

“We looked as if we were doing the patterns of play that we wanted to do, we knocked it about quite nicely, and we should have gone in one goal up.

“But we didn’t get that goal, and then they scored a really annoying, scruffy goal – from our point of view, a poor one defensively – that killed us for about 10 or 15 minutes.

“They had another chance to make it two after, but we huffed and puffed in the second half without really causing them a lot of trouble.

“It was a bit disappointing, but we are where we are with 13 players and having to rely on a lot of kids.”

In Chippenham’s bid to bounce back, Cook’s men will host free-scoring Eastbourne Borough at the Thornbury Surfacing Stadium this weekend.

The pair shared a thrilling 2-2 draw down in East Sussex earlier in the season, and Cook is expecting plenty more goals when Jamie Howell’s men make the trip to Wiltshire on Saturday.

He said: “I don’t think they’re going to sit back which is going to help us.

“We drew with them at their place, it was a game we were winning right up until the 94th minute.

“The referee awarded a penalty against Spencer Hamilton, which was right, but it made it feel like two points lost rather than one point gained for a good away performance.

“But they’re big, strong, and quick. They’ve got two centre forwards who look very good and know where the goal is, so it will be a tough test.”