Pre-season has only just begun and already so have Banbridge Town’s injury worries.
Defender James Wilson will miss the start of the season after sustaining a broken bone during Saturday’s 4-1 victory over Killyleagh.
That was a match that two other Town players had to sit out, all adding up to a pre-season headache for Town boss Ryan Watson.
“James has broken a bone in his leg and is on crutches,” said the manager.
“It was very sore on Sunday and then he got an x-ray done which showed the damage.
“I’m not sure how long he will be out for now but I’d imagine it would be over four weeks anyway. To lose a player like James at any time is a huge blow to us. He’s a big player for us and had been doing very well during pre-season too.
“Chris McGrath had a rib injury and Matthew McCartan had a dead leg so neither of them played on Saturday and won’t play this week either.
“Ryan Evans is struggling a bit as well and Adam Pedlow is training but can’t play matches yet so we just have to wait and see when he can come back in.”
Town will continue their pre-season schedule tonight (Tuesday) as they host Portadown at Crystal Park (kick-off 7.30pm).
After that, Cliftonville are the visitors to Town to play for the Bob Larmour Cup to complete one of the biggest weeks of Banbridge’s pre-season.
“We’re looking forward to testing ourselves against Premiership teams this week,” said Watson.
“We haven’t had Portadown over to Crystal Park for a few years so that will be good and then we have Cliftonville on Saturday, which is a game we always look forward to.
“We have to wait and see what sort of team they bring down but any of their young players are very talented and will give us a good work-out hopefully in front of a good crowd.”
Town began their pre-season with a 2-1 victory over Lurgan Town. A crushing 6-1 defeat to Newry City followed but Town bounced back with win at Killyleagh on Saturday.
Watson said: “Beating Lurgan Town was a good work-out for us. Everybody in an 18 man squad got at least 45 minutes.
“Against Newry City, we had played well during the first half. Then we conceded on the stroke of half-time. We equalised in the second half but then, it was weird, we fell apart defensively. It was a calamity of errors and we were beaten 6-1. We weren’t ourselves at all but I’m not going to read into it too much.
“We were back on track on Saturday, beating Killyleagh 4-1 on Saturday but pre-season is all about fitness.
“The lads have all been working very hard and everybody has been there for the vast majority of the training session, which is fantastic.
“We just don’t want to be picking up any more injuries. Pre-season is all about getting fitness levels up and we have to try and avoid getting injuries.”
Watson’s squad, when fully fit, is nearing completion but the boss is hoping to add another goalkeeper before the season begins on Saturday 8th August.