Freak injuries have been a major contributing factor to Hartlepool United’s stuttering season so far - that’s the view of Pools boss Craig Harrison.
This week saw yet another senior player leave the first-team pool for the physio room, with skipper Carl Magnay ruled out for a fortnight with an abdomen problem.
And Harrison admits he is frustrated with the situation, ahead of the club’s FA Trophy trip to Workington tomorrow.
“Injuries aren’t helping us,” said the boss.
“Senior players have been missing a lot, our older players are 25 and we have missed them – Carl, (Ryan) Donaldson, (Jake) Cassidy, (Jonathan) Franks, (Nicky) Featherstone, (Keith) Watson, (Luke) George – we have missed them all together.
“It’s not one or two of them out, it’s a cluster of them together and we are looking at six-seven players who would be staking a claim for a start who are unavailable.
“We have chances for others to stake a place, but it’s massively frustrating.
“I’ve not been able to pick a settled team for 13/14 weeks now, but we have managed some good results in that time.
“I’m not hiding behind anything, this side should be getting better results than we are. It’s frustrating to have them senior players out of the team, out of the dressing room on a matchday and the influence they bring.
“We have missed them all, but we get on with it and keep going and they will come back.”
Magnay’s knock adds to a lengthening list of players who have suffered unusual injuries this season - prime example being defender Watson, who suffered a knee trauma more akin with car crash victims or rugby impact injuries, than anything any doctor tends to see coming off a football pitch.
“We can’t afford any more injuries,” said Harrison.
“The fitness staff have looked at it and the number of muscle injuries are minimal – it’s been impact injuries, broken nose, everything and anything.
“The lads working in sports science and fitness are doing all they can and six to eight of 36 injuries being muscle injuries is a low percentage.
“Is it bad luck? It’s a very physical league and we have been unfortunate.”
Magnay is almost certain to be out for not only the weekend, but also the Maidenhead clash a week later. He is thought to have a chance of returning to the fold for the trip to former club Gateshead on Boxing Day.
“Carl Magnay will be out a few weeks,” said Harrison.
“The impact injury on Saturday which has turned into something a little more serious.
“He was hospitalised with got a small bit of fluid on the lung. He’s out of training for up to two weeks and then we see. It’s not good.”