THE word ‘crisis’ tends to be over-used in footballing parlance, but it certainly fits the bill as far as Forres Mechanics’ current injury hell is concerned.
Ahead of this weekend’s crucial Scottish Cup clash with Keith, Mechanics could be missing as many as eight key players as their casualty list continues to grow.
A suspected torn Achilles tendon for important midfield man Kyle Scott is the latest body blow to land on manager Charlie Rowley.
Striker Ross Archibald could yet require surgery on a knee cartilage rip sustained last week, while centre back Steven Fraser limped out of last weekend’s 2-0 league defeat at Fraserburgh with a groin strain.
Craig McGovern (ankle ligaments), Andy Fraser (knee) and Ross MacPherson (back) are also struggling, Ryan Green is recovering from a knee op while top scorer Scott Lawrie is away with the RAF in Afghanistan until November.
Even recent loan signing Stuart Soane could miss out, with parent club Formartine United reluctant to let the midfielder become cup-tied by featuring for Forres in their first round clash.
It all adds up to the worst possible preparation for the start of Mechanics’ Scottish Cup campaign, as they host Keith on Saturday in poor shape both in terms of personnel available and recent form.
“Without a shadow of a doubt it’s a crisis,” said boss Rowley. “It never rains but it pours just now. It’s the worst injury list we’ve had at Mechanics in a long, long time.”
Six games without a win and four defeats in a row have also dented Forres morale, yet Rowley is determined to lead his threadbare squad into their all-Highland League tie on Saturday in positive mood.
“Some might say its an impossible situation, and as much as I wish I had everyone fit and available this weekend, we’ve just got to get on with it,” Charlie said.
“We’re down on our luck and it’s not an ideal situation but hopefully the guys we will have involved on Saturday are good enough to get us through.”
Scott’s injury came at training on Tuesday night when, during a passing drill he struck the ball and pulled up with a shooting pain in his standing foot.
“He went to A&E in complete agony, and their initial diagnosis was a partial tear in the Achilles,” said the Cans’ boss. “My own instinct is he could be out for months rather than weeks.”
McGovern damaged ankle ligaments a couple of weeks ago and is a major doubt for Saturday, while an injury at the back of Andy Fraser’s knee leaves him with almost “zero” chance of playing, according to his manager.
Steven Fraser is also set to miss out, with MacPherson rated as the best hope on Mechanics’ casualty list of being fit to play against Keith.
As for loan player Soane, Rowley said Formartine boss Steve Paterson was sympathetic to the Forres injury crisis and was still considering whether or not to allow him to play for the Cans this week.
There is a silver lining on the black cloud descending upon Mosset Park, however. Key defender Graham Fraser is finally free of a five-match suspension and fellow stopper Simon Allan served his one league match at Fraserburgh, so is available to return on Saturday.
Seventeen-year-old local lad Ross Paterson and fellow youngsters Drew Howard and John Ross come into the reckoning for a place, while even coach Charlie Brown was on the bench in the defeat at Bellslea Park.
Rowley felt Fraserburgh’s half time lead, courtesy of a 30-yard Graham Johnston free kick, was harsh on his team, and admitted his injury-hit side finally gave way once a Courtney Cooper header doubled Broch’s advantage late in the contest.