ACCRINGTON Stanley are facing a defensive crisis ahead of Saturday’s League Two visit of Plymouth Argyle.
Leam Richardson’s men crashed to a fifth defeat in their last six games, being dumped out of the FA Cup by Oxford United on Tuesday night, and are now bracing themselves for an injury nightmare.
Centre halves Peter Murphy (hip) and Dean Winnard (concussion) were forced out of Stanley’s defeat at Oxford and, with both doubtful for Saturday, Stanley are left with just one fit senior centre half.
Toto Nsiala would be expected to start in the centre, leaving Craig Linfield out of position at right back, while giving a league debut to 20-year-old Tom Eckersley would be Richardson’s only other option.
Richardson believes being forced into a defensive reshuffle last night was a major factor in Tuesday’s cup exit, as two late Oxford goals proved the difference.
He said: “During the game both teams were trying to earn the right to play their football and I thought we were doing that quite comfortably.
“To then lose the two centre halves and have to shuffle personnel like we did, it became difficult.
“I thought we were still a threat but the goals took their toll. When you have to shuffle both centre halves it is difficult.
“Peter wanted to try and play through it and Dean was not able to come out for the second half.
“It is always tough when you have to shuffle both of the centre halves. You move on, you dust yourselves down and you come back stronger.”
Stanley’s poor run of results leaves them anxiously looking over their shoulders in 19th position in League Two.
But Richardson insists his players attitude could not be faulted in Tuesday’s latest set back.
He said: “I can’t fault the lads’ endeavour and commitment. As long as they give you that, you can’t have many complaints.
“I had a problem with the officials all night so we won’t go into that, they don’t fail to disappoint.
“We have experienced Oxford a couple of times. The first half it was two teams trying to earn the right to play. We went in at half time quite confident and thought we would open up in the second half and be more of a threat.
“But, again, to lose both centre halves it became diffifuclt.
“We have gone from the other end to conceding. “It is a disappointment. “It was a big game for us and to not come with anything is a bitter pill to swallow.”
Meanwhile, Accrington Stanley will be running supporters coaches to both the Boxing Day League Two game at Bradford City and Rotherham United on December 29.
Seats for both trips are priced at £10 Set off from the Crown pub for both trips will be confirmed soon.
To book or for more information contact Ash after 5pm on 07545 049294.