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Basingstoke Town face injury crisis
BASINGSTOKE Town are facing an early-season injury crisis ahead of their trip to Tonbridge Angels on Saturday.
A total of six players, including goalkeeper Ashley Bayes and key midfielder Shaun McAuley, are rated as at least doubts for the trip to Kent, giving manager Jason Bristow a real headache.
Bayes is struggling with a knee injury and is likely to be out of action for around two weeks, meaning that Bristow must either bring a goalkeeper in on loan or put his trust in young Joe McDonnell.
There are also major problems in the centre of midfield. Jide Ogunbote remains out with a stress fracture in his leg, while Shaun McAuley is still struggling with a hamstring problem.
In addition, Simon Dunn missed Monday’s 2-2 draw with Hayes and Yeading United due to a neck problem, while Stuart Lake is also a major doubt for Saturday with a sore shin.
To make matters worse, right-back Nathan Smart looks set for a spell on the sidelines after being taken to hospital with whiplash and concussion towards the end of the game against Hayes. He was released later the same day but is unlikely to feature until at least next weekend.
Bristow said: “We have got a few injuries now and a few of them are to key players like Ashley Bayes and Shaun McAuley. It’s not ideal but we have got to take it on the chin and see who is available come Saturday.”
In spite of the injury problems, Bristow is hoping to see his side produce an improved performance away at Tonbridge on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).
Despite leading Hayes for most of the game on Monday, it was a far from convincing Basingstoke performance. They were outplayed for long periods and only a series of fine tackles, blocks and saves prevented Hayes getting back into the game sooner.
Bristow said: “All of the players know that their performance was not good enough and we have got to put things right.
“At the moment we have not been fully at the races in the first half of all three games. There has got to come a time where we hit the ground running.”
Bristow was unable to hide his disappointment after seeing his side lose their grip on a two-goal lead.
“It feels like a loss with them coming back in that manner,” he said. “We are all very flat.
“We have got to take the positives from this though. We have played three top sides and are unbeaten, while the fact that we are feeling so disappointed not to have beaten Hayes shows where we are at.”