THE HEALING hands of physio Nadine Tipple will hold the key to Studley’s FA Vase hopes after joint-manager John Edwards revealed the extent of their injury crisis.
Edwards and Wayne Bunn face a desperate race against time to add numbers to the squad ahead of Saturday’s home tie against Racing Club Warwick with ten players likely to be missing.
“It’s the worst injury situation I’ve ever known, never mind the worst I’ve faced as a manager in Saturday or Sunday football,” said Edwards.
“We’ve got a squad of 22 players and I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of players who are 100 per cent fit. Nadine is working around the clock to get players fit.
“We’ve had players playing through with knocks in the last few weeks but then the problems have only got worse. I’ll have a chat with Nadine and see who we might be able to strap up and get out on to the pitch. It’s all hands to the pump.”
Studley had made it four wins in a row with Saturday’s 2-0 win at Stapenhill – a result which lifted them to eighth in the Midland League Division One table.
Harvey Smith netted twice but the summer signing from Coventry Copsewood then broke down in Tuesday’s Worcestershire Senior Cup defeat at Pershore Town. Dan Carter netted for the Bees just past the hour mark but they were trailing 2-0 after Sam Clark and Jake Cavens netted and Charlie Anagho-Ntamark grabbed the hosts’ third with eight minutes left.
Front-runner Smith was one of three Studley casualties from the 3-1 defeat, with Jordan Jones limping out after 20 minutes with a recurrence of his Achilles injury and Sean Cooke aggravating an ankle problem.
“Losing Harvey is a real blow – he has been flying,” said Edwards. We are really struggling.
“I would like to bring in some bodies but the problem is players we might like to sign from clubs in our league would be cup-tied for the Vase. All the paperwork needs to be done by lunchtime on Friday so I’ve just been making phone call after phone call, speaking to Smudger (Paul Smith) at Halesowen, Brendan Kelly at Bromsgrove Sporting and Carl Abbott at Evesham to try to get players in.”
A goalkeeper will be a priority since Jack Tregartha is already out with a shoulder injury and he will now face an operation because the muscle has come away from the bone, while new signing Connor McCarthy is ineligible having played for Heath Hayes.
The casualty list also includes Lewis Clarke (ankle), Luke Dugmore (broken ribs), Dale Edwards (ankle ligaments), Dave Edwards and Josh Westwood.
“Racing Club are no mugs and I’m sure they will fancy their chances on Saturday,” said Edwards.
“We’ll be having to put square pegs in round holes but I’m certain whoever plays for us will give it their very best. I never question their attitude.”