DAVENTRY Town’s team for the last three or four matches of the season will virtually pick itself as the squad is down to 13 fully-fit players, including two goalkeepers, two teenagers and 38-year-old manager Ady Fuller.
Things got a whole lot worse at Leighton Buzzard on Tuesday night and not just because of a record Central Division 5-0 beating. For starters leading goalscorers Tom Berwick and Russell Dunkley could both be forced to sit out the crucial last few days of the campaign.
A despondent Dunkley fears his long and distinguished career may be over as arthritis is causing persistent problems to the ankle he broke so badly a few years ago. “I was an embarrassment out there and I just can’t run any longer,” he said.
Also looking equally glum from the sidelines was 27-goal Berwick who was due to see a specialist this week amid growing fears that he has developed a hernia which may require an operation.
Berwick, who vehemently denies making derogatory remarks about Daventry Town on Facebook, could be advised not to play again before August while yet a third frontrunner Howard Forinton has already been ruled out of the play-offs with cartilage trouble.
Defenders Martin Hutchcox (broken thumb) and Callum Burgess (knee touble) are also ‘hors de combat’ while Aaron Parkinson (groin strain) and Josh Blake (dead leg) were also absentees against Leighton Town.
As if there were not enough problems off the field this week then a thoroughly demoralised team suffered a total breakdown in self-discipline as the 90 minutes progressed at Lake Street on Tuesday night.
Josh O’Grady was given a straight red – a three-match ban will follow at some stage – for comments made to a linesman while goalkeeping coach Derren Midson was banned from the dug-out for comments aimed at the referee himself.
There were yellow cards too for manager Fuller, Aaron Stringfellow, Paul Lamb and Tom Bates during a night of misconduct which is likely to end in an FA charge and another hefty fine for the club.
Quite frankly victory in the play-offs would come as a minor miracle for a makeshift Town team which will face the added threat of big-spending UCL champions-elect St Neots if remaining in the Central Division next season.
The Saints are rumoured to be preparing a huge five-figure players’ weekly budget for their entry to the Southern League which could yet see Division One bottom markers Beaconsfield SYCOB pick up a reprieve because of drop-outs further up the Non-League pyramid.