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Stamford AFC travel to face Belper in he Northern Premier League Midlands Division



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Boss Graham Drury believes his Stamford side have been hit by injuries and availabilities this season like he has never seen before in his 23 years of management.

Stamford have defied a number of setbacks throughout the campaign to remain in the Northern Premier League Midlands Division play-offs places.

But, as the injuries continue to pile up, the Daniels boss admitted that he's even worried about getting his players in for their weekly training sessions.

Stamford manager Graham Drury. Photo: Rob O'Brien (54390252)
Stamford manager Graham Drury. Photo: Rob O'Brien (54390252)

They started the season with eight players sidelined and, although the injuries had started to clear in recent weeks, they have begun to hit the Daniels again.

Centre-half Sean Wright and midfielder Rob Morgan both missed the weekend defeat at Halesowen Town while striker Tom Siddons - who has been Stamford's leading scorer for the past two seasons - requires a knee operation that will rule him out for the rest of the campaign.

To further compound the Daniels' woes, a player tested positive for coronavirus this week which means he will miss Saturday's trip to play-off rivals Belper.

Drury said: "We just can't seem to get a break at the moment.

"It's been thrown at us all year and I have never known anything like it in 23 years of management.

"It hasn't got any better from minute one of pre-season and then having to call the friendly off at Peterborough Sports.

Rob O'Brien captures the action as Stamford went down to a 3-2 defeat at Halesowen. (54390327)
Rob O'Brien captures the action as Stamford went down to a 3-2 defeat at Halesowen. (54390327)

"It did like look it was turning around but now it's just happened again.

"It's been a really hard season and it's all credit to the changing room that we're still in the play-off places because we've had a lot of swaps and changes.

"I'm not sure that I've had the same back four for two weeks on the trot and it's really hit us in that defensive area.

"We have been hit so hard all season and it's now just a case of seeing what we have on the day.

"It's getting to the stage where I'm worried about training. We have to keep the players ticking over and, when the lads are there, they want to go full bore because they have travelled to be there.

"It's no good having an easy jog around and then letting them go after an hour because there's no point in coming in.

Rob O'Brien captures the action as Stamford went down to a 3-2 defeat at Halesowen. (54390319)
Rob O'Brien captures the action as Stamford went down to a 3-2 defeat at Halesowen. (54390319)

"It's a fine balance because we just daren't risk any more injuries because we're low on numbers but we have to train."

Stamford travel to Belper on Saturday looking to repeat one of their most impressive performances of the season when they ran out 6-1 winners in the reverse fixture at the Zeeco Stadium.

They are just three points behind their fourth-placed hosts in the league table with a game in hand on the Derbyshire side.

Rob O'Brien captures the action as Stamford went down to a 3-2 defeat at Halesowen. (54390323)
Rob O'Brien captures the action as Stamford went down to a 3-2 defeat at Halesowen. (54390323)

Drury added: "I'm expecting Belper to be fired up. We had a convincing win at our place and they are going to want to put it right.

"We should have the edge in mind-set that we can go out and win the game but they will also be looking at, if we beat them and Carlton win their game, then they will be out of the play-offs.

"They will be determined to stay in there obviously but we have to be determined to leap-frog them so it should be a really good encounter.

"They are very direct at getting the ball forward and will play that way on their own pitch so we just have to concentrate on trying to pass it and moving them around to exploit their weaknesses."

Wright and Morgan will both face late fitness tests ahead of Saturday's match at the Silver X Stadium.



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