Injuries have left Ripon City threadbare ahead of their biggest match of the season next week.
City’s Whitworth Cup semi-final against Knaresborough Town will eventually take place on Wednesday night, but the delay has irked boss Charlie Brown.
The semi-final fixture has been postponed on several occasions as Knaresborough have embarked on a mazy run to the Northern Counties League Cup final.
The Whitworth Cup falls below league commitments in the pecking order for scheduling and that meant Brown has had a fully-fit squad for most of the previous scheduled encounters. However, a season-ending injury crisis has struck with less than a week until the sides battle it out at Station View.
Liam Gaffney added to the injury woes in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Beeston St Anthony’s and is likely to miss the rest of the season.
Daz Simpson is suspended for the cup semi, while Ben Jones and James McDaid are both cup-tied.
“It’s a bit of a kick in the teeth,” the boss said.
“We have had a squad available for all those dates that we have proposed. Now it’s a date suitable for Knaresborough, we have a threadbare squad.
“If we could put out the squad we can, it would be a spin of a coin between the sides. With the injuries, it has swung more in their favour.
“Whatever side we put out, we will make it competitive.”
Duncan Terry grabbed the equaliser on Saturday as seventh-placed Ripon derailed Beeston’s bid to finish the West Yorkshire League season as runners-up.
Beeston opened the scoring from a first-half penalty, after Rob Mortimer conceded the spot-kick.
But Terry capped a much-improved Boro showing in the second period to share the spoils between the sides.
The Mallorie Park outfit were in action at Leeds City last night, after the Gazette went to press.
Brown gave special credit to goalkeeper Josh Avery for producing a late flurry of saves to keep the scores at one apiece.
The stopper joined City midway through the season from Harrogate Town’s youth set-up, and his new gaffer believes he has the potential to star in the semi-professional game.
However, Avery’s short height could prohibit his future progress, according to gaffer Brown.
“Josh has been as good as anything in the league,” added the boss.
“If he had another six inches on him, he would be playing at a really high standard.
“I am sure he has aspirations to play Counties or Evo-Stik. He’s good enough to.”