Injury-hit Blues head for Sutton Coldfield

Ben Askins is stretchered off during Whitby's midweek defeat to Salford City. Picture: Brian Murfield
Ben Askins is stretchered off during Whitby's midweek defeat to Salford City. Picture: Brian Murfield

Whitby Town will make Saturday’s trip to Sutton Coldfield with growing injury concerns to contend with.

Striker James Brown and defenders Ben Askins and Kieran Weledji all picked up knocks in the first half of Wednesday’s FA Cup replay defeat to Salford City.

Askins’ knee injury saw him stretchered from the field and looks set to sideline the Doncaster Rovers loanee long term, while Weledji, and Brown in particular, are doubts for this weekend’s clash with the Royals.

Mark Robinson and Richard Pell were absent in midweek and are not expected to return in time for Saturday, although Matty Waters could be fit enough to play some part.

Town boss Darren Williams, who will be aiming to mastermind a first victory for the Blues since the opening day of the season, explained: “I don’t want to make excuses, but we’ve been very unlucky picking up so many knocks in such a short space of time, and it is impacting on results.

“I’m not saying that injuries were the reason we were knocked out of the FA Cup, but losing three lads by half-time is hard to cope with.

“James Brown had to go off after six minutes, Ben Askins suffered what looks like it will be a long-term injury to his knee and Kieran Weledji also hurt his knee.

“Kieran is a doubt for the trip to Sutton Coldfield, while Mark Robinson and Richard Pell are also unlikely to be fit for that, so it looks like we may have to try and bring cover in.

“Whether we can do so before Saturday remains to be seen due to the limited time we have to play with.”

With the Seasiders without a win in nine games and currently in the Evo-Stik Premier Division’s bottom four, Williams was keen to stress that he feels a united front is the best way to bring about a climb up the league table.

“While the Salford result was very disappointing and we’re in need of a win, it is important that everyone tries to stay positive,” he added.

“Criticism and negativity won’t help anyone, so everyone involved with the club needs to stick together, get behind the team and try and help us through this difficult period.”

Sutton Coldfield, who were promoted from Evo-Stik Division One South via the play-offs last term, currently sit 11th in the Premier Division standings, with three wins and three draws from their opening eight fixtures.

A supporters’ coach to the Royals’ Coles Lane home will leave the Turnbull Ground at 8.30am on Saturday. Call 07966 241 344 to book a place.