Walking wounded Spalding United face an FA Cup selection crisis on Saturday with no less than NINE key players unavailable.
The Tulips are targeting a money-spinning run in the world’s most famous domestic cup competition, but now have just 11 registered players able to face Eynesbury Rovers at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.
Skipper Lee Canoville damaged his hamstring in Tuesday night’s 3-0 derby victory at Boston Town and will miss around a month.
He is joined on the sidelines by injured duo Miles Chamberlain and Danny Steadman, suspended pair Lewis Webb and Dan Cotton... plus unavailable quartet Adam Jackson, Jonny Allen, Sam Mullarkey and Matty O’Neill.
Veterans Danny Hussey and Marcus Ebdon will have to play, while ex-Peterborough United professional Rayment could even be forced to lace his own boots up.
“It really is an unprecedented situation,” said the Spalding chief. “I’m far from impressed, but there’s nothing I can do.
“It’s a one-off, but a massive blow. We want to go as far as we can in the FA Cup and, in usual circumstances, have the squad to do just that.
“I’m going to have to go cap in hand to a few people and see if I can bring a few emergency players in. But it’s a tough one for clubs and players, as they’d be cup tied – and for some, it’s the first day of their season.”
The timing couldn’t really be much worse for the Tulips, as they look to build on a flawless start to the season.
Two wins from as many UCL Premier Division games has added significant weight to pre-season claims that Spalding were the team to beat this year.
South Holland football fans are also likely to rue the situation, with Spalding and fierce rivals Holbeach United on an FA Cup collision course should both progress from their extra preliminary round fixtures.
On a possible clash with the Tigers, Rayment added: “You have to respect the size of the fixture, I know the fans love to play Holbeach. It’s not something I’m thinking about now, but of course it’d be a good occasion.”
Spalding’s FA Cup opponents Eynesbury beat Northampton Spencer 3-2 in their UCL Division One opener on Saturday.