An injury crisis is hampering Matlock Town’s pre season with no fewer than six first choice players hurt.
Player-coach Martin Foster is out for six weeks with a hairline fracture picked up against Handsworth Parramore last weekend.
Last season’s top scorer Danny Holland (hamstring) was also missing along with Micky Harcourt (knee), James Ashmore (knee), Liam Needham (hip) and Phil Roe (foot).
Gladiators boss Mark Atkins felt the effects as his resources were stretched for Tuesday night’s clash with Leicester City U21s.
The Foxes ran out 4-0 winners in a game Atkins was forced to name more or less what he had left.
He said: “Having so many of our main players out at one go is a major headache. They need games to work their way up to fitness and to stay fully fit with the first game of the season getting nearer.”
The first game of the season at Trafford is still over a fortnight away. They are at Staveley on Friday nightand at Sheffield FC on August 9.
Atkins said Foster was “gutted” and hoped to have him back in six weeks, while offered more encouraging news about the other casualties.
“Danny should be back within the next few days while Micky Harcourt’s going to play some part in the next couple of matches, it’s a situation we’re going to have to manage until he gets seen by the medical people. Hopefully Liam’s hip, Roey’s foot and Matt’s ankle aren’t too serious and they’ll soon be back,” he added.
On the plus side, Atkins confirmed the signing of midfielder Josh Meade after the Handsworth match.
The 18-year-old had been released by Doncaster Rovers having made just one JP Trophy first team appearance, but has been impressive during Matlock’s pre-season campaign.