A FRESH injury crisis is threatening to derail Bury Town’s treble bid.
Russell Short (medial ligaments), Sam Nunn (foot), Roscoe Hipperson (back) and Mark Coulson (groin) – with 145 appearances between them this season – have all suffered injuries in the last week, while fellow defender Elliot Hunter (knee) remains a long-term absentee.
But after a makeshift back four of midfielders Lee Smith and Callum Kearns, teenager Connor Hall and skipper Tom Bullard helped the Blues to the Suffolk Premier Cup final with victory over Leiston on Tuesday, manager Richard Wilkins backed his squad to continue their good run despite the absentees.
“We are down to the bare bones a little bit,” said Wilkins. “But I thought our back four did well on Tuesday.
“Callum and Connor will be playing in the full-back positions again on Sunday, but they did very well and I think Connor showed again what a promising young player he is.”
Short and Coulson are certainly out of Sunday’s trip to Kingstonian (3pm), while Nunn and Hipperson were considered major doubts at the time of going to press.
Attacker Kieran Leabon has also been absent recently with a virus and may not be fit enough to feature.
Former Southend United trainee Kearns had to be recalled from a loan spell at Biggleswade Town, just days after agreeing a short-term move to the Evo-Stick Southern League Division One Central side, and could feature at right-back again when Bury visit eighth-placed Kingstonian in the Ryman Premier on Sunday.
Teenager Connor Hall should also slot in well at left-back, a position he held on merit until being replaced by Coulson for last month’s Ryman League Cup semi-final with Lowestoft Town.
Wilkins hopes none of the recent injuries will be out for too long and all could be fit to play again within a fortnight.
Bury managed to negotiate their way through a penalty shootout against Ryman One North title-chasers Leiston in the Suffolk Premier Cup on Tuesday to set up a date at Ipswich Town’s Portman Road with either Haverhill Rovers or Lowestoft Town.
Reflecting on the spot-kicks, Wilkins added: “I named the penalty takers and didn’t give people a choice – I knew we wouldn’t miss a penalty.
“I don’t know where that came from, but I was confident we had the temperament.”
Bury (from): Bullard, Clark, Cunningham, Garnham, Hall, Hitching, Kearns, Kennedy, Key, Leabon, Nurse, L Reed, S Reed, Sands, Smith.
n Reports from Bury’s wins over Leiston and Lewes on Page 126.