CAERNARFON Town, facing one of their toughest tests at home to third-from-top Llanelli today, have been hit by a selection crisis involving up to eight players.
With three regulars suspended, Canaries manager Steve O’Shaughnessy has to sort out five injury doubts, before he can name his line-up.
“The trouble is, because the transfer window is now closed I am unable to bring in any new signings and the biggest worry concerns the goalkeeper,” he said.
First choice Vinnie Whelan, on loan from League Two side Wrexham, was red-carded against Neath Athletic in last weekend’s 2-1 home defeat.
The Republic of Ireland under-18 player has received a three-match ban and Caernarfon’s second-string keeper, Craig Vernon, is unavailable.
It means Wednesday’s stand-in at Llangefni Town, Alan Roberts, who was called up from the reserves, is expected to go between the posts again.
Town’s other suspensions are strikers Paul Addo, who is part way through a four-match ban, and Chris Noone, who is sidelined until mid-April next year after an incident in a Liverpool five-a-side event.
The injury doubts are captain Eifion Jones, James Glendenning and Kieron Quinn – all non-starters in midweek – and fresh casualties Lee Bamber and Phil Doran.
O’Shaughnessy said: “Several of them are rated as 50-50 and no better.
“But we will just have to get on with it and, although this situation is almost unbelievabl, at least we do have a big squad,.
“Full-timers Llanelli are a class side, who will make it tough for us, and our lads will have to work their socks off to get a decent result.”
Elsewhere, The New Saints aim to make it six of the best in the Welsh Premier when they journey to Carmarthen Town today, writes John Bridgwater.
After two early losses, the Saints have stormed back with five league wins to thrust themselves firmly back among the early pacesetters.
Having also reeled off two wins in the Loosemores Cup, prospects are looking far rosier for the defending champions as they gear up for the long trip to west Wales.
“I’ve been really pleased with the lads’ response,” said manager Ken McKenna.
“After losing the first two games, weaker players would have folded but we’ve come back well and shown a lot of character.
“I think it’s going to be the tightest title race for some time, and it’s a challenge we should look forward to.”
TNS maintained the momentum with 1-0 win over Newi Cefn Druids in the Loosemores Cup in midweek, a performance that delighted McKenna.
“We must have had 95% possession during the game, but there weren’t going to be a lot of chances against a team sitting back and defending,” he said.
“But some of the football we played was brilliant, we passed the ball well and it was a really good performance.”
McKenna made changes for the tie, saying he wanted to reward a number of players for their patience at being on the fringes this term.
Strike duo Ronnie Morgan and John Toner are still sidelined, but keeper Ged Doherty got a game under his belt in midweek following his groin injury.