WREXHAM'S treatment specialists are fighting a losing battle to get key players fit for tomorrow's match with Colchester United at Layer Road.
The latest pair to be struck down in a month of injury misery at the Racecourse are skipper Darren Ferguson and striker Chris Armstrong.
Ferguson, who was due to return after completing his two-game ban, is struggling with a tight hamstring, while Armstrong has a lower back problem, and both face late checks.
They provide yet another headache for boss Denis Smith with hamstring strain victims Jim Whitley and Carlos Edwards already set to be missing for at least a fortnight after picking up their injuries in the Easter Monday clash with Hartlepool.
Wales under-21 international Shaun Pejic is unlikely to play again this season after an X-ray this week revealed a hair-line fracture of his fibia and his defensive colleague Brian Carey has been ruled out of the trip to Colchester after failing to recover from a foot injury.
Late checks will determine the availability of Steve Roberts and midfielders Mark Jones and Matty Crowell, all of whom are nursing ankle injuries.
The Dragons also leave behind defender Paul Edwards, who is suspended for the match after being dismissed following two cautions in the home match against Tranmere Rovers a fortnight ago.
But Smith's striking options are enhanced by a fit-again Hector Sam, who made a lively return as a second-half substitute on Monday and Lee Jones is fit again.
Although resigned to missing out on the Second Division play-offs following three straight defeats, the Racecourse boss remained positive.
"I've had 12 players out there training, and they include Simon Spender, who is still a scholar," Smith said.
"We have been stretched to the limit and beyond in the past couple of weeks and the only good thing to come out of it has been the emergence of Spends.
"He's come into the team and done very well for an 18-year-old. On Monday he found himself playing alongside Craig Morgan, who is just 19.
"But they are both young lads and I don't really want to expose them at this level for a prolonged period of time. Craig is effectively a third-year YTS player and, as I say, Spends has done well. But too much too quickly can ruin young players.
"At the moment, though, it's a case of needs must. I'll have to see how many of the players are available for Saturday and then devise a system to suit them."
There are a few seats remaining on the Away Travel club coach leaving the Race-course at 9am tomorrow morning. The fare is £21 and bookings can be made at the Racecourse shop.
Wrexham have raised no objection to BBC Wales plans to stage the FAW Premier Cup final on Wednesday, May 12. Opponents Rhyl, who will have home advantage, are involved in the Welsh Cup final against TNS at Newtown on Sunday, May 9.
FOUR Wrexham starlets have been called up to the latest Wales under-21 training squad.
Teenagers Craig Morgan, Matt Crowell, Mark Jones and Levi Makin have all been invited to attend training in North Wales from April 25-27.
But the shock call-up belongs to Bangor City striker Les Davies, who has had a breakthrough this season since switching from Glantraeth.
The 19-year-old has been picked by new under-21 boss Glyn Hodges and his assistant Clayton Blackmore, who is a player at Bangor alongside Davies.