MANAGER Carl Heeley admits his Worcester City squad is desperately short on players following a turbulent few days at the club.
Since last Thursday, the Blue and Whites have seen keeper Ryan Boot sustain a knee injury in training as well as midfielder Steven Leslie and striker Kristian Ramsey-Dickson leaving the club, the former emigrating to Australia.
On top of that, midfielder Aaron Brown and striker Aaron Farrell, who are cousins, missed Saturday's 2-1 defeat at North a Ferriby United through a family bereavement.
City had to draft in teenage keeper Callum Preston from Birmingham City, while Heeley named himself on the bench at Grange Lane alongside academy youngsters James Lemon and Max Crisp.
The team's kitman and a University of Worcester media student travelling on the bus at the weekend were also sent home ill.
An exasperated Heeley said: "We've had everything thrown at us and sometimes you can't do anything about it.
"Condolences to both Aaron and Aaron on their bereavement but these things happen in life and we just have to deal with it.
"We didn't have an opportunity to react to that situation as well as losing Ryan and two players leaving in the week.
"We had five players less than last week and it's tough to cope with. We gave it a good go but unfortunately it was a little bit too much for us to deal with.
"We're certainly down to the bare bones and it sums it up when your kitman goes ill, it's just unfortunate and you know that things are stacked against you.
"We've overcome a lot of obstacles this season and I'm sure we'll have a few more yet."
Boot, on loan from Port Vale until the end of the season, twisted his knee during a training session.
With Jose Veiga also out with a knee injury, City could be forced to turn to 19-year-old Preston at Redditch United in the Worcestershire FA Senior Cup semi-final tomorrow night.
Heeley said: "Hopefully it's not too bad but Ryan has done everso well for us and the lad is as frustrated as we are because he's enjoying playing games for us."
Daniel Nti scored his fourth goal in as many games at North Ferriby and Heeley was pleased with his efforts.
"Daniel is doing well and it was a good free-kick," the City boss added. "I think it got us deservedly level because we did look ominous on the break.
"We gave it a good go and we fell a bit short so we move on to the next game."