‘Struggling’ Horsham are facing the drastic action of rebuilding their playing squad midway through the season.
It’s been a torrid few weeks for the Hornets with one win in six Bostik League South Division matches and an 8-0 FA Trophy humiliation on Saturday.
They were without 12 players for that defeat at Cray Wanderers and their extensive injury list stands at nine out.
This week, Matt Axell and goalkeeper Josh James have decided to take time out of football, putting more stress on already depleted numbers.
Rob O’Toole made the switch to Saltdean last week and they face long-term absences to key men Joe Keehan, Chris Breach and Adam Hunt.
Manager Dominic Di Paola moved quickly to re-sign attacker Liam MacDevitt (Lewes) and goalkeeper James Fernandes (Arundel) and admits he is searching for more due to their current situation.
He said: “We just want a break in game of football. We are just desperate for something to go our way again as it seems everything is going against us.
“It’s the hardest situation I have ever had to deal with in football. We have to keep battling along and hope things change for us, but at the moment we are really struggling.”
The boss revealed that making new additions could be a long process and no short-term fix, adding: “We are almost going to have to have a rebuild of the squad during the season when we are playing Saturday and Tuesday. I have never had anything like it in my time in football - but that’s no excuse for Saturday’s result.
“Until players are back and I can’t be sure how long they will be out, I still have to look around to bring people in. Three of the starting 11 on Saturday were loan players, and we have lots of long-term injuries, so when they go back to their parent clubs, at the moment we would have a problem.”
Horsham travel to Ramsgate on Saturday and to Hastings United on Tuesday night - but could have a couple of players with lesser injuries back.
Di Paola added: “I just want to see the fight and togetherness we played with on Tuesday night (1-0 loss against Carshalton). Every game now, win, lose or draw, I want to see that level of commitment.”