THE wisdom of calling off Wrexham's scheduled Easter matches against Brentford and Port Vale became evident yesterday when Denis Smith had just 11 professionals training.
They included Carlos Edwards, Hector Sam and Craig Morgan, away on international duty next weekend, and Matt Crowell, who may yet win a call-up to the Wales under-21 squad if injured team-mate Mark Jones fails to recover.
The Dragons boss was also without veteran goalkeeper Andy Dibble, given a day off after playing for the reserves at Rochdale on Wednesday, captain Darren Ferguson, suspended for tomorrow's trip to Swindon, and Dennis Lawrence, sent for an x-ray on his foot.
Fortunately extensive bruising was the extent of the damage but he remains a doubtful starter.
"He picked up the knock last Saturday and has been in pain ever since," said Smith. "He's not been able to train so the x-ray was a precaution and we'll have to see how it's looking in the morning."
Jones, who damaged ankle ligaments in the 1-0 LDV Vans Trophy win over Oldham appears to have little chance.
"It looks as though Mark will be fit to report for international duty next week, but that's not much consolation for us," added the Racecourse boss. "Even if I had bent over backwards to play the games over Easter, the arithmetic would have made it an impossibility with at least three, possibly five, going off with Trinidad and Wales."
Of the long-term casualties, only Alex Smith and Chris Armstrong have a chance of being available for the next League One fixture, at home to Bournemouth on April 2.
Brian Carey (knee) and Jim Whitley (thigh) have declined corrective surgery that would sideline them for the remainder of the season.
At Swindon, meanwhile, manager Andy King has challenged his players to put their play-off prospects back on track, following successive defeats to Bournemouth and Luton Town.
"I think the players realise they have the opportunity to reach the play-offs," he said yesterday.