Sutton United’s Skrill South promotion dreams have been thrown into turmoil after boss Paul Doswell admitted they are facing a defensive nightmare.
Last weekend’s 3-1 win over Ebbsfleet United that sealed United’s place in the play-offs came at a cost when skipper and talisman Charlie Clough limped off with a suspected torn hamstring.
He joins fellow centre back Will Spetch and left back Dale Binns on the treatment table, and all three could miss out on the vital end of season finale.
It leaves Doswell with just Louis John and Simon Downer as his recognised centre backs – while Lee Sawyer has been filling in at left back.
The manager has already turned to the youth team with Ben King making the step up in recent games, and Isaac Philpot is also likely to play a role in the final games of the season.
Doswell said: “I have got to be so careful with Simon [Downer] and Louis [John] because if either of those get injured, we could be in a spot of trouble.
“We’ll assess Charlie’s injury later this week and it is up to the physio to decide the severity of the injury, but he could miss the rest of the season.
“Will turned his ankle in training and is now in a plaster boot, so he is going to be out for at least a couple of weeks.”
He added: “We’re grateful to have Jason [Brown] in goal because he has been phenomenal for us this season and I’ve told him he should be playing at a league side.
“He has such presence and experience at the back, and with our make-shift defence his voice is invaluable.”
More than 700 fans watched United start slowly against Ebbsfleet United and fall behind just after the break.
However, Jamie Taylor scored twice – he now has five goals in three games – and Downer also got on the scoresheet to seal United’s play-off berth.
United, in second, go to Bishop’s Stortford tomorrow knowing three points could cement a home semi-final, ahead of the visit of Concord Rangers on Monday.