Fleetwood Town travel to Coventry tomorrow in the throes of a fresh injury crisis, with only three first-team defenders available.
Steven Pressley’s side head to the Ricoh Arena for their third game in eight days – the packed schedule and an ongoing relegation battle beginning to take their toll on the Highbury squad.
Tyler Forbes and Stephen Jordan are the latest casualties, leaving Town with no cover at centre-half and no recognised right-back for tomorrow’s game.
Pressley admits his team selection is a challenge and made it clear he can afford no more problems – he took it easy on his troops on the training ground.
But he won’t make any excuses, insisting his side can still come out on top against the high-flying Sky Blues.
“We’re very thin on the ground defensively,” said the Fleetwood boss. “We’re going to have to look at a number of things. We might have to patch up and ask a number of players to play out of position.
“Regardless of that, I still think we can go there and win the game, I really do.
“If we play with energy, I’ve got a good feeling.”
The Fleetwood boss might be outwardly confident but a quick glance at the occupants of the Poolfoot Farm treatment room highlights the extent of his concern.
Nathan Pond is recovering faster than expected but will not be available to travel tomorrow; nor will Conor McLaughlin, who limped out of last weekend’s victory over Scunthorpe.
Even ever-present Amari’i Bell has run out of steam, with new signing Bob Harris potentially the only fit full-back in the camp.
Pressley said: “Tyler and Stephen are added to the absentee list of defenders. There’s obviously Nathan Pond; Danny Andrew is still out; Conor McLaughlin obviously.
“We’ll have an assessment on Amari’i Bell leading up to the game. We have big concerns in the defensive area but we have to work on that.”
It may well have to be a case of square pegs in round holes for the Fleetwood boss, who can at least count on Joe Davis. The centre-half came through Tuesday night’s defeat at Rochdale unscathed.
“We are going to have to find a way at the weekend,” Pressley said. “It was great to see Joe (Davis) back. When he came in it looked like he hadn’t been away, which is typical of Joe. It was pleasing to see him back.
“We have to be careful leading up to the game, take our foot off the gas – which we were going to do anyway – and hope we get no more injuries.”
Tomorrow’s game is Pressley’s first chance to return to the Ricoh Arena since being sacked by the Sky Blues last year. But the only point-scoring the Scot has in mind involves hauling Town away from danger in League One.
His side sit above the relegation zone on goal difference and the Town boss said: “It doesn’t matter that it’s the Ricoh – we just have to win games.
“In football a win changes everything. We had the feelgood factor from last Saturday but we were only able to enjoy that for a couple of days, then you’re knocked back to Earth.
“We have to keep perspective and make it about improvement, doing everything we can to get better.”
Fleetwood have just two away wins all season, the more recent back in October.
Town’s boss insists he hasn’t lost belief on the road but knows what a victory could do for his squad.
He said: “There’s certainly no lack of belief from myself.We have to find a way.
“The only way to overcome it is by winning. We have to bring that belief through good results and good performances on the road.”