FATE has dealt Mark Wright an unenviable hand for tomorrow’s trip to Lincoln – but the Blues boss is ready to face the challenge head on.
“We’ll have to do the best we can with the tools we have at this moment in time,” is how Wright views the daunting task facing him and his players at Sincil Bank, where Chester will be forced to field a patched-up line-up.
Both regular full-backs – Laurence Wilson and James Vaughan – are ruled out through suspension, while centre-back Shaun Kelly remains sidelined with a knee problem which could keep him out of action for a few weeks.
Midfielder Damien Mozika is nursing a knock and may not feature, Paul Butler, Stephen Vaughan and Eddie Johnson are also injured, and Wright will not be calling on Tony Dinning or David Mannix, both of whom have been frozen out of the first-team picture by the City boss.
It all means that Chester’s team at mid-table Lincoln will as good as pick itself, with several square pegs forced into round holes and players from the youth team filling the bench. To make matters worse, Lincoln’s team are one of the tallest in the division – and Wright is acutely aware that his diminutive side may struggle to compete with them aerially.
“They are a big, big side so it’s a major, major, stern test,” said the Blues manager. “Without having a full squad it will be very hard, but we’re going to go there and do the best we can and still go for the win. It’s going to be hard because we’ve got less players this weekend.”
Rather than risking his dwindling band of first-teamers, Wright opted to field a team of fringe and youth team players in Tuesday’s Cheshire Premier Cup tie with Crewe Alex. He was eager to see if anyone would stake their claim for a place in tomorrow’s team – but a 7-0 defeat to the Alex left him in no doubt that Sincil Bank is not the place to blood some of the club’s highly-promising young players.
“We had to play the kids against Crewe because the squad isn’t big enough,” said Wright. “It was to see whether they can step up to the mark, and I think you could see quite clearly that they can’t at his moment in time and it would be unfair and wrong to actually do that.
“But we may be left with no choice this weekend but to include four of them.”
Out-of-favour midfielder Dinning played against Crewe but will not be winning a recall at Lincoln, where he scored the winner for Chester in a 1-0 victory at Sincil Bank last season.
Wright said: “Dinning, in my opinion, didn’t really go after it the other night. He didn’t dictate as a senior player, so my opinion hasn’t changed about him.”
Chester’s second away game of next week sees them travel to Port Vale on Tuesday (7.45pm). Wilson returns from his one-match ban but James Vaughan will still be suspended after picking up 10 yellow cards this season.