Injury-hit Alfreton Town are down to the absolute bare bones for Tuesday evening’s FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay at Lincoln City.
The Reds will travel with just 14 available players, three of whom are not fully fit as they are in various stages of returning from injury, but the biggest blow of all is that manager Nicky Law has no recognised goalkeeper for the tie and an outfield player will have to play in goal.
Alfreton lost on-loan debutant keeper James Severn on Saturday with a ruptured thigh muscle which will keep the Scunthorpe United man out for around eight weeks.
And with Sheffield Wednesday keeper Cameron Dawson also carrying a slight thigh strain – and being ineligible any way as he was not fit for last Saturday’s game - the Reds had a Monday morning appeal to the FA to bring in an emergency goalkeeper turned down under the jurisdiction of FA Cup Rule 15, Provisions Concerning Players.
Reds manager Nicky Law said: “We have just 11 fit players, one of whom is going to have to play in goal.
“We are not complaining, and we have already checked with the FA that we will not be fined for fielding a weakened side. It also comes at a cost, as we will also now have to pay for James Severn’s wages for a month.
“It is an extraordinary set of circumstances we find ourselves in. We sought dispensation from the Football Association first thing this morning but they have turned it down.
“Regardless of who we draw in the first round, we just need to come out of the replay with our pride and credibility intact.
“But, the pressure will be on Lincoln City to win the game and win it comfortably which every outsider will probably feel they should given the circumstances.
“I am not sure what’s worse, being me with just eleven fit players and no goalkeeper or being Lincoln manager Gary Simpson with the players, home advantage and the fear of not winning that game playing against a team with eleven fit players and no recognised goalkeeper.
“This is a game that Lincoln should not or could not lose really.”
Goalkeeper Severn and right-back Bradley Wood who picked up a knee injury which will keep him out for several weeks last Saturday join an injury list which already includes former Imp Dan Gray (groin), Andi Thanoj (broken ankle), Chris Smith (broken finger) as well as Cameron Dawson.
Only players who were registered for the tie at 12 noon last Friday are eligible for the replay.