PORTHMADOG may have to cope without four key players when they take on The New Saints in their quest for a cup quarter-final place today.
Definite non-starters are left-wing raider Les Davies, because of a one-match ban, and midfield playmakers Clayton Blackmore, who is cup-tied, and Danny Hughes, who is injured.
Hughes’ broken metatarsal bone in his foot means that he could be sidelined for two months.
Porthmadog’s other concern is striker Jason Sadler, who has a back problem and is rated as 50-50, with a last minute check-up planned.
Joint manager Viv Williams said: “We are hopeful Jason will be involved in some way, either in the starting line-up or on the bench, but if he is not we will be short up front.”
Striker Marcus Orlik, recently secured from Rhyl and yet to appear for Porthmadog, could be offered his debut, while call-ups go to Kevin Roberts, Carl Jones and Geraint Mitchell.
Williams said: “We shall dig deep into our squad and are confident the lads who are brought in will want to make the most of their opportunity to impress.”
Porthmadog and TNS have met three times already with the score standing at two wins for Ken McKenna’s full-timers and one for today’s hosts – and all those wins were by the away sides.
Williams said: “TNS are the hot favourites to win this one, because of who and what they are and in view of our casualties, but we will be in the right frame of mind and up for it from the first moment.
“We know what we will be up against, and we know we will not have too much of the ball, but our aim is, when we do have possession to make something of it.”
The New Saints have some injury concerns as they bid to stay on course for a league and cup double, writes John Bridgwater.
“They are a good side – it always surprises me where they are in the league,” said TNS manager McKenna. “They’ve got some good players and have already beaten us in one cup this season.”
The Saints’ preparations, however, have been hindered by injuries with defender Martyn Naylor facing eight weeks on the sidelines with a knee injury sustained in the 0-0 draw at Connah’s Quay last Saturday.
Steve Beck is also out and Mike Wilde is doubtful, while midfielder Richard Harris has joined Welshpool.
McKenna was disappointed by the overall display on a tricky pitch last weekend, adding: “It was a poor performance by us. Connah’s Quay battled hard and adapted better. They were good value for the point and could have nicked it.
“There was lots of blood and thunder from both sides, but there was a lack of quality due to a poor pitch.
“I felt sorry for people watching the game as it was a poor advert for the league.”