AS Chester City’s injury and suspension crisis goes from bad to worse, Mark Wright is sending an SOS call to a pair of out-of-favour players whose days at the Deva looked to be numbered.
The Blues boss yesterday revealed he is willing to use David Mannix and Paul Butler as emergency cover, should the duo prove their fitness.
Experienced centre-back Butler, 36, has been out with a calf injury since Wright took over in November.
As he is now in the twilight of his playing career, much of his time of late has been spent working towards earning his coaching badges in Cardiff.
According to Wright, Mannix has been on “gardening leave” in recent weeks following an alleged breach of club discipline. In October, the 23-year-old suffered a serious facial injury in an alleged training ground bust-up with a team-mate.
But as Chester’s selection problems deepen, both Butler and Mannix may be drafted in to bolster Wright’s wafer-thin squad between now and the end of the season.
The Blues boss said: “The bottom line of it is, we’ve got to see where Paul Butler is.
“At the end of the day, if he’s here, then he needs to be playing and needs to be fit. If other people go down, he needs to be around.”
On Mannix’s future, Wright said: “I think the boy Mannix is going to come back into the club. He’s been on gardening leave through another incident, but he comes back in. We’ve got too many players out.”
Attempts to find Mannix a new club in the transfer window failed to bear fruit, and Wright added: “Sitting at home is no good for him or for anybody, so he can come and train with the kids here and get himself fully fit.”
Butler and Mannix played in City’s first two games of the season – heavy defeats to Dagenham and Leeds – but have not featured for the first team since.
Wright has already performed one surprise U-turn this month, so City fans should not be surprised if he makes two more. Having stated that Tony Dinning had no future at the club recently, the City boss sprang a major surprise by selecting the Geordie veteran in his team for Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Lincoln.
Now it seems that Butler and Mannix could be given a similar opportunity.
Wright’s hand is being forced by the fact he is working under the constraints of a transfer embargo, which is preventing him from signing any new players.
The embargo – imposed by the Football League for the late payment of certain players’ wages – could hardly have come at a worse time as several members of his squad are either injured or suspended.
Despite the problems, Wright is remaining upbeat.
“We’ll get through it, whatever’s thrown at us,” he said.
More Blues news – pages 62-63.