Raiders have only 14 fit for Gateshead
Last updated at 11:45, Saturday, 09 June 2012
BARROW Raiders travel to Gateshead Thunder tomorrow with only 14 fit players.
Player/coach Darren Holt is one of three men set to play through the pain barrier as an injury crisis grips Craven Park.
More than half of Holt’s squad are currently sidelined, but the boss himself, skipper Liam Harrison and hooker James Dandy will all feature in South Shields despite not being 100 per cent (3pm kick-off).
“I’ve got 14 fit players,” said a beleaguered Holt, whose groin strain is still not recovered.
“I’ve currently got a squad of 17 players and three of them are carrying injuries – myself, James Dandy and Liam Harrison.
“We’ll all have to stump up. It’s a case of needs must.
“Ideally, we were coming into this run of games with the chance to give people a rest if they have knocks, but it hasn’t panned out that way.
“In fact, it’s got worse and we have to play people with knocks. I just hope it doesn’t have a knock-on effect for the rest of our season.”
Barrow currently top Championship One with eight wins from their opening nine games – giving them a one-point advantage over Doncaster at the halfway stage, though they have a game in hand on the South Yorkshire side.
It had been hoped a week without a game last Sunday would help the likes of Holt and Harrison recover from their knocks, but instead the casualty list was added to.
Ruairi McGoff (knee) – yesterday named in the Canada Wolverines interntaional squad – Brad Marwood (broken hand), Andy Ballard (quad) and Dandy (calf) have all been injured in the past fortnight, with full-back Ballard failing a late fitness test to feature.
That means a game where Holt might previously have rested or rotated his players is now one where he has no choice in matters.
“I’ve just got this thing in my head now,” said Holt, one of the few players to have experience of Gateshead’s temporary new home at South Shields’ Filtrona Park, having played football there as a youth. “I’m worried going out and somebody else getting a knock, so one of these players with injuries has to stay on.
“We are going to end up with the walking wounded playing on Sunday. That’s the worst-case scenario – let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. I don’t want to overplay the injury thing. We have still got a very good team going out on the park.
“I would certainly be worried about what team is going on the park next week, because we are going to be a few more down.
“But we still have a decent team going out. There’s not that many changes if you look at the starting team, bar Andy Ballard.
“It’s still a strong team. We have got to go there into the second half of the season and gear up again for Gateshead.”
He added: “If we don’t go there and get a result, it would seriously impact on all the hard work we have done before now.
“But, don’t get me wrong – yes, we have a lot of injuries, but the team that is going out on the park is actually a very good team, a quality team.
“Put it this way, though, it’s the first week this season when I haven’t had any decisions to make with selection.”
Barrow Raiders: Haney, Backhouse, Shaw, J Finch, Nixon, Kaighan, Campbell, Butler, Bracek, Dawson, Venter, Ostler, Toal, Beach, Holt, Dandy, Harrison.
l Gateshead coach Kevin Neighbour must cope without Ryan Clarke tomorrow, following his decision to leave the club.
But Thunder could be buoyed by a change of scenery at South Shields’ Filtrona Park. Neighbour said: “We’ll work hard to produce a performance for our home fans.”
First published at 10:42, Saturday, 09 June 2012
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
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