JUST when Hartlepool Rovers thought it could not get any worse – it did.
Rovers, propping up North One East with relegation a formality, already had an absentee list in double figures.
And the number has grown this week with three backs joining the casualties – full-back James Masshedar (hamstring), Brian Foreman (groin) and Andrew Arnell (thigh).
Player-coach Alan Brown is down to the bare bones in his squad for Saturday’ss bottom-of-the-table clash at Morpeth (kick-off 3pm).
Andrew Lilley joins Ian Coulson in the centre, while Michael Railton comes in on the wing and Brown names Stephen Barnfield, a talented young scrum-half, in the vacant full-back role.
Up front, at least Brown is able to field almost the same pack as last Saturday.
Simon Hall’s return is a lift after he missed last Saturday’s 39-5 collapse at Old Crossleyans.
“After the run we’ve had this is the last thing we needed,” shrugged Brown. “But we’ll go there and look to get stuck in.”
MHorden (from): P Bruce, D Mason, A White, D Heckles, S Holloway, A Turner, J Morton, N Hartley, M Thompson, A Rollins, G Malcolm, R Walsh, O Bennett, R Pink, N Turton, S Heckles, R Hebron