DISTRAUGHT manager Peter Jackson today began the difficult task of lifting his depleted squad from only the third FA Cup defeat to a non-League side in Town's history.
Yesterday's 1-0 first-round defeat to Andy Gouck's stoppage-time stunner at Accrington dumped Town out of a third cup competition in just 13 days and left them reeling from six defeats in seven matches after the season had looked to be taking off.
Now, Jackson must plot for the visit of Third Division leaders Hull City to the McAlpine on Saturday without ever-present keeper Ian Gray, who has a broken right hand, the suspended trio of Efe Sodje, Steve Yates and Lee Fowler and with Tony Carss under intensive treatment to a knee ligament injury.
Carss was ruled out in front of the BBC1 live cameras and a crowd of 3,129 at the Interlink Express Stadium, where Jon Worthington was a controversial seventh sending off of the campaign and faces a three match ban stretching from Mansfield and Cheltenham this month into December against Macclesfield.
Jackson has left it with referee Mike Jones to consider rescinding the card and, in the meatime, will focus efforts of rebuilding some shattered confidence after Town's Cup misery was screened nationwide to around one million viewers.
"As manager this one hurts, the lads are all devastated and it's a bitterly disappointing result for the club," said Jackson, who took little consolation from the £50,000 TV fee as Town missed out on a second round trip to Bournemouth.
"I know the fans will be really hurt and worried by our away form, too, but it's important we don't get our heads down and make sure we bounce back in this match against Hull City.
"They are one of the best teams in the division, but we have a great home record and we want to keep that going by putting this defeat well and truly behind us."
The defeat, a sixth in succession away from the McAlpine, leaves Town eyeing only the League to rake in vital cash unless suitors return to try and buy Jonathan Stead or, perhaps, rekindle old interest in defender Nathan Clarke.
Jackson is again looking at his midfield options - Lee Fowler's talks with Coventry continue about a permanent move - and believes Worthington to be very unlucky.
"The referee said it was violent conduct, but I can't see that in a million years," said Jackson, who told the referee at the ground there had been little or no contact between his player and Rory Prendergast.
"Worthy said he was just trying to shoot, yet the referee was straight out with the red card.
"It really was very disappointing and I just hope the referee looks at it and realises he has made a mistake, because then we've got a chance."
Town's only previous Cup defeats to non-League sides came against Southern League Swindon in 1911 and Colchester United in 1948.
"It's hard to take, but it's very important we respond in the right way against Hull at the McAlpine this weekend. That's what we are looking at now," added Jackson.