WREXHAM boss Denis Smith is finding little room for manoeuvre in the run-up to Saturday's home match with Grimsby Town.
With an already wafer-thin squad, the Dragons boss has defender Brian Carey starting a two-match ban for reaching 10 yellow cards, while fellow centre-half Steve Roberts a big doubt with a mouth abscess.
Wing-back Paul Edwards is also likely to be unavailable due to a hamstring strain picked up against Rushden and Diamonds last weekend.
Smith said: "Eddie has not yet been able to shake off his injury, so we could well be without him.
"The good news is that both Darren Ferguson and Dennis Lawrence return after suspension, while I was also delighted with the performance of a number of the players in our midweek reserve clash.
"A few of them have pushed their way into my thoughts. That's encouraging."
One of those could well be midfielder Paul Barrett. He captained the reserves to a win 3-2 against Macclesfield, after being omitted from first-team squad last weekend.
Barrett said: "When I found out I wasn't even on the bench against Rushden, I was very disappointed. But the boss called me into his office to explain the situation and I felt better after he'd given me his reasons.
"Now though it's up to me to keep working hard in training and to show him that I should be in the side. The more games I get like midweek, the better for me.
"We carried on with the formation that faced Diamonds and, to be fair, I think it suits me having the extra man in midfield. I like to get forward when I can and this means there is always someone back to cover for you.
"Whatever happens between now and the end of the season, I'll be doing my best to earn a place back in the team."
Another problem for Smith came yesterday when Grimsby appointed ex-Bradford man Nicky Law as their new manager.
"This means all my reports back on them could easily count for nothing," said Smith.
"I'm hoping that him being given the job so late in the week, means he won't have much influence on their tactics for the coming weekend. But then again, he might want to implement a few new things straight away."
Law takes over at the Blundell Park club following the departure of player-manager Paul Groves, who left after a string of poor results that see the Lincolnshire side just five points above the relegation zone.
He said: "I think it is a very good challenge for me and Grimsby has a fine tradition. I think it's now set with all the support the board have given, to keep the club going.
"I am a believer that you have to start with work ethics. No one has a divine right to win a football game. I am really looking forward to getting on with (assistant) Graham Rodger, on the training pitch with the players and getting things moving forward."