WAYNE OLIVER says Droitwich Spa’s persistent injury worries mean they will be looking to recruit ahead of a vital run of games.
The Saltmen are confident they can challenge for promotion in Midland League Division Two but injuries to the likes of Mike Seeley, Jack Brighton, Adam Granger and Jimmy Halsall, have had a debilitating effect.
Seeley hurt his ankle in the first week of the season and has not played since, while Halsall faces a knee operation. Brighton (hamstring) is still three weeks from fitness, while Granger joined the casualty list after injuring his ankle in last Saturday’s 2-1 win at Welland.
Victory at the Cheltenham League side, courtesy of early goals from Luke Molloy and Aston Hunter, set up a Worcestershire Junior Cup semi-final at home to Worcester Raiders – a repeat of last year’s final which the Saltmen won.
The immediate priority for joint-bosses Oliver and Mark Owen is to return to winning ways in the league, starting at home to Leamington Hibernian tomorrow (Saturday) as fourth-placed Droitwich look to keep the pressure on Paget Rangers and Alvis Sporting.
“We’ve probably raised expectations by what we achieved last season and we felt we could be a top-five side and maybe get to a cup final,” said Oliver.
“What we didn’t anticipate was having the list of injuries we’ve had. That has knocked us about.
“We will have to recruit rather than just being able to patch up players. They are big injuries, across the team, so we need to look at all areas in the team. It’s a case of finding the right players because we don’t have a budget to pay players. But we also don’t to bring in players just for the sake of it.”
While Oliver says Paget and Alvis are the teams to beat, he suggested the league is far more competitive so other teams, such as Fairfield Villa and Barnt Green Spartak, can also topple the high-fliers.
“Everybody is capable of beating everybody else,” said Oliver. “We can still challenge, we’re certainly not giving it up.
“What we need to do is to put together a few wins so going into December and January we are still in touch with everybody else.”
Oliver was pleased to progress in the Junior Cup after a tricky test at Malvern side Welland. Molloy converted from James Lemon’s pull-back for the 11th-minute opener and Aston Gunter made it 2-0 on 23 minutes before Welland replied ten minutes from time.
“It was a decent performance,” said Oliver. “Arguably the scoreline should have been bigger but Welland kept going and they defended well. There were a lot of positives for us.”