Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola has ‘got some thinking to do’ this week as to whether he brings in more emergency signings to bolster his squad.
The play-off chasing Hornets have found themselves short of numbers through injury problems and suspensions and had just two players on the bench for their 1-1 draw with Hastings United on Tuesday night.
They are sweating on the fitness of midfielder Charlie Harris, who is awaiting a scan, Lewis Hyde has two games of his ban to serve, Dean Lovegrove failed a midweek fitness test and Dylan Merchant has had back problems.
The management team are conscious that a decline in numbers could hit their play-off push with 13 games left to play in the Bostik League South East Division.
Ahead of their away clash at eighth-placed VCD Athletic, Di Paola explained: “What I need to do now is sit down and have a look at numbers again and go from there.
“It’s a juggling act. Until we know what is wrong with Charlie, we can’t address that. Lewis we know will miss two more games.
“It’s difficult as I don’t want to bring in loads. It’s not fair on the boys that have been here all season, but I also don’t want to let them down by not having the numbers to give us a chance.
“I’ve got some thinking to do this week of what I am going to do as we are a bit light again, but that is the nature of this level. Hastings had some young academy boys on the bench for them and that makes all the difference, it is what we’d like to be able to have and we will next year and going forward. We do not want to let ourselves down due to lack of numbers.”
Combative central midfielder Harris was hit with a nasty challenge in their bruising win over Ramsgate last month and their are fears it could mean a lengthy lay-off.
Di Paola said: “Charlie is going for a scan this week. It’s quite a bad one, so it’s a worry. We do not know how bad so we will have to wait until the scan and gauge it from there. He’ll be a big loss.
“It was a real mindless tackle, but that is what you are up against sometimes.”
Defender Merchant has also been missing in recent weeks due to a back problem.
He was set to return against Hastings on Tuesday night, but an unrelated operation meant that he was ruled out.
Di Paola added: “Dylan was a weird one as he had some treatment on his back this week and it really helped him. But he also had an operation this week to remove a mole and the doctors said he can’t get any water on it as it’s an open wound.
“We threw Will in and he wasn’t going to start as he hadn’t even trained with us. He knows a lot of them, but the first intro was in the changing room. That isn’t easy coming into a new team, some of our shape stuff he is not aware of.”
Saturday’s opponents VCD, who have played 22 games, sit just outside the play-off places on 35 points, seven less than Horsham, who have played 23 – similarly to Haywards Heath and Whyteleafe in the positions between them.