Bexhill United Football Club is facing an availability crisis as they seek to extend their three-month run without a league defeat.
The Pirates are set to make the long journey to Midhurst & Easebourne tomorrow (Saturday) without up to nine players due to a combination of unavailability, injury, suspension and illness.
Bexhill manager Marc Munday said: “We’re in dire straights again. It’s a tough place to go at the best of times. It’s a long old trip and it’s not looking good team-wise.”
Five players - Josh Elliott-Noye, Jack Aston, Kevin Barden, Nathan Tudor and Dan Cruikshank - are attending a wedding, while Chris Cumming-Bart has a one-match ban.
On top of that, Andy Atkin has been suffering with a chest infection, Toby Clifford sustained a groin injury on Monday night and Munday himself is still struggling with the knee problem which forced him to miss the festive derby against Little Common.
The ability to find a way to get results has been a feature of Bexhill’s rise to second place in Macron Store Sussex County Football League Division Two and seldom has it been needed more than now.
Midhurst are down in 10th and were beaten 4-2 in the reverse fixture five weeks ago, but have won both of their last two matches without conceding a goal.
“If it rains at the weekend it won’t be the worst thing and I hate that because I want to play all the time,” continued Munday.
“But we want three points and I’ll take it whatever way it comes. A point down there isn’t good enough. We’ve got some of the top sides to play so we can’t be dropping points to the lower sides.
“The people that will be playing are capable of winning, but maybe the bench won’t be as strong as it has been in recent weeks. Whoever does come in, if they do a job, they will keep the shirt.”
Munday admitted that the postponement of last weekend’s scheduled visit to Saltdean United due to a waterlogged pitch did Bexhill a favour because Elliott-Noye, Aston, Barden, Tudor and Cruikshank were all on a stag do.
With all bar one of the division’s other matches also called-off, Bexhill remain three points ahead of third-placed Wick & Barnham United and fourth-placed AFC Uckfield Town, albeit having played three more matches than the former.
“If we have another third of the season like we have the previous two, we’re there or thereabouts,” added Munday. “We have to keep up the momentum, we have to keep going. We’ll be back to strength after this week and we want to be going into Worthing (Bexhill visit leaders Worthing United next weekend) strong.”