SCOTT Redhead cannot believe the injury nightmare which has hit his side over the past couple of weeks.

Things were looking rosy for Holker Old Boys until then, but the wheels have come off for the Stags after losing James Bonner, captain Phil Coombe, Ben Rebello, Jordan Brough and Josh Tweddle – all of whom could be out for the remainder of the season.

The injury problems coupled with work commitments have left Redhead with little alternative other than to draft in reserves and A-teamers. He has also donned boots himself, while brother Craig, and former Wigan ace Lee Ashcroft have also helped the cause.

Holker are sixth in the North West Counties Division One table – the last remaining position for the play-offs – yet despite the problems Redhead hopes they can still at least retain that position come the end of the season.

But with some tough clashes ahead before the campaign draws to a close he admitted: “I think it might be a step too far for us now even though we are still sitting in the play-offs and there are games in hand. But looking at the run-in we play all the top teams around us.”

The Stags were fourth and within striking distance of a top two place before the injury nightmare, but Easter results were grim for Holker who were beaten twice – 4-3 at Rochdale and 3-1 against Cheadle Town – and they face a stern test of their credentials tomorrow when league leaders Hanley Town head to Rakesmoor Lane.

There is hope John Paul Stanway, who has been watching his sister Georgia help England qualify for the Under-17s European Championships in Serbia, could return for the clash. While Ibukun Bamigboye is ready to come in as goalkeeper

A decision will also be made on who will step up from the reserves and A-team. The rising stars who have turned out so far have been Spencer Erdis, Jamie Hodgson, Jamie Cowan, Elliot Maxfield and Josh Woodend.

“We will patch something together for Saturday and will try and be as solid as we can,” said Redhead, who has not given up hope in qualifying.

“Our only hope is if we can pick up another couple of wins and hope that the teams above us, when they play each other, drop points and it might just fall lucky for us. But my gut feeling is it might be a bit too far this season for us now.

“We go into Saturday’s game against the top of the league, we get the lads together in training and we’ll look at the game plan to see how we can stop them and hit them on the break. ”