Bourne without quartet as they target return to winning ways
Bourne Town are facing a midfield selection crisis ahead of Saturday's home clash with Thrapston at the JJ Mac Stadium.
The Wakes will without a quartet of midfield men for the home United Counties League Division One match against their bottom-of-the-table visitors.
Craig Rook and Reece Driscoll are both out injured, Jack Bottreill is away for the weekend while Warren McSkelly has departed the Wakes this week to join league rivals Sileby Rangers.
Manager Rob Middleton is now urging the rest of his squad and those who will be stepping up from the reserves to make the most of their opportunity.
Middleton said: "I've always said that injuries, suspensions and availability will define the rest of our season and if we can get a top half finish or not.
"You can never forecast these sort of things. Craig fractured his foot at Aylestone last week, Jack's away for the weekend and Reece still isn't ready to return yet from an injury.
"Warren just lives around the corner from Sileby's ground and a lot of his friends from university have started playing there so I can understand why he wants to play on his doorstep.
"He gave me notice about it, we shook hands and there's no hard feelings. The door will always be open if he ever wants to come back.
"It does mean we're without four of our midfield for this weekend so we're going to have to work on a different shape in training this week.
"We will have a different plan of attack. I want to put what I feel is the best 11 available players out, but I want them to be in positions that they are comfortable with.
"We will practice and work on our shape in training and it will also give an opportunity for some of the fringe players to take their chance.
"The reserve lads like Ben Moss, Andy Young and Scott Dore have all got potential while Josh Randall did well in his first 90 minutes for the reserves last weekend.
"We've still got our hard-core of the side available, but it is what it is so we've just got to get on with it.
"We know Thrapston are scrapping for their lives and we're looking over our shoulders a little bit at the likes of St Andrews creeping up on us, but if we can get a result on Saturday then we'll be in a better place."
The Wakes will welcome back Max Cooper this weekend while Robert Dunn made his first appearance of the season for Bourne last Saturday after returning to the club from Peterborough League Premier Division side Stamford Lions.
Striker Jake Mason also made a goalscoring return from injury in the 4-1 defeat at Aylestone Park while Middleton continues to look to strengthen his squad.
He added: "It was good to have Jake back and he was probably the best player on the pitch last Saturday.
"He would have had a hat-trick on another day. He's hit the post, crossbar and then their keeper has pulled off a worldie of a save. It was like he had never been away.
"I've also got some irons in the fire and there might be a signing on the horizon, but it's ifs and maybes at the moment."
More by this authorJames Bedford