Tommy Widdrington admits he may have to juggle his small squad as Eastbourne Borough attempt to navigate a safe passage into the last 16 of the FA Trophy.
Three first team regulars are ‘highly-doubtful’ as Widdrington’s former club Hemel Hempstead Town visit Priory Lane tomorrow (Saturday 3pm) in the First Round Proper of the non-league cup competition. A prize fund of £5,000 will be banked by the winner and the Borough boss is keen to get the job done Saturday as a reply would add to an already congested fixture list - made worse by the postponed Senior Cup match at Three Bridges on Tuesday night.
Widdrington said, “We do have a small squad and it is important to stay healthy but we are struggling a bit. We have three lads who didn’t train this week and they have to be considered highly-doubtful for Saturday. It was a shame the Senior Cup match was called off. It would have given some of the younger lads some minutes who might have to step-up on Saturday. Usually we have a policy of if you don’t train Thursday, then you don’t play Saturday. But we might relax that a bit for this week.”
The injuries could provide an opportunity for a few of the talented younger members of the squad. Liam Wilson, son of previous manager Garry Wilson, is dual-registered at Hastings United while Josh Street and Ashley West, both on loan at Peacehaven, could be called upon. Ryan Worrall, who returned to the squad from his loan period and scored during the 1-1 draw against Oxford City last week, is likely to feature. Widdrington also didn’t rule out the possibility of adding to his depleted squad ahead of the Christmas period. “I have been out watching players and there could be something. We have used the Adam Watts money for Marvin (Hamilton) but there could still be room to do something.
“We have some younger lads who we continue to work with. Some of them have been getting good game time in adult football. Ryan Worrall is also an example of that. He found out more about adult football at Peacehaven and has returned looking stronger.”
Hemel Hempstead have almost mirrored Borough’s league form this season. Both have 23 points from 17 matches and have won six, drew five and lost six. The visitors are one above Widdrington’s men thanks to a superior goal difference.
If there is a draw, the replay would take place Tuesday night at Hemel Hempstead meaning Hemel wouldn’t have to embark on their scheduled midweek league trip to Truro.