The extensive injury list for Hemel Hemsptead Town couldn’t come at a worse time with two games in three days over the upcoming Bank Holiday weekend.
However, there could be an unexpected boost to the squad ahead of their clashes away at Oxford City on Saturday and at home to Billericay Town on Monday.
The Tudors’ official Twitter account said last night (Tuesday): “Some good news as some of our injured players have had a light training session this evening.”
Although they didn’t specify which, a video clip showed long-time absentee striker Rob Sinclair training with boss Sammy Moore and coach Darren Beale on a ball machine.
Sinclair, who joined the Tudors from Oxford City last November, made eight league starts and scored four times last term, but was often beset by injury woes.
His return would be a big positive ahead of their busy weekend.
Meanwhile, the club teased a new signing for 8pm on Tuesday night before saying there had been a delay in paperwork which still needed to be cleared.
Injury and suspensions had made it a bridge too far for Hemel on Saturday as former Tudors’ boss Dean Brennan emerged victorious 3-0 in the derby-day clash with Wealdstone at Vauxhall Road.
After the heroics of last Tuesday’s 1-0 win over previously unbeaten Dulwich Hamlet, the visit of another strong side who will likely be in the promotion mix was the last thing Moore needed at the weekend, writes Allan Mitchell.
Moore had no less than five players unavailable through injury and two via suspension, meaning he was only able to name four substitutes, including two academy youngsters.
Visitors Wealdstone took full advantage.
The game was strangely subdued for a derby and there was little of note to report until the Stones took the lead on 17 minutes.
The goal came when a free-kick was lofted into the box from the right and Hemel keeper Sam Beasant opted to punch rather than catch it. He found the same Stones player who had taken the set-piece and he launched it back into the back post where Michael Phillips arrived unmarked to slide the ball home.
Hemel had the ball in the net on two occasions after this, but both were ruled out for offside.
Jacob Mendy hit the bar for Stones before they made it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time when Phillips found space on the right and crossed to an unmarked Dennon Lewis to head home from close range.
The second-half saw Wealdstone control the game for long periods without threatening but the Tudors couldn’t get going, often misplacing passes and running into a solid wall of defenders.
The Stones barely had to get out of second gear to see the game out comfortably and with few options for change, Hemel never looked like getting back into it.
Mendy added a third on 77 minutes, heading into an empty net after Beasant had parried a Ross Lafayette’s shot.
Sub Isaac Galliford nearly reduced the arrears for Hemel late on with only their second shot on target, but Stones’ keeper Aston Oxborough saved well with his legs.
Moore refused to blame the injuries and suspensions for the defeat, saying that while it didn’t help and the players were clearly exhausted after Tuesday’s efforts, they didn’t do enough on and off the ball.
They now have to dust themselves down and go again this Saturday at Oxford on a dreaded 3G pitch, before battling Billericay two days’ later.
Hemel are currently in ninth place in the very early National League South standings, while Oxford are 15th and Billericay in sixth.
Moore said he didn’t expect too many of his injured players to be available for the games as their injuries have to be carefully managed and a rushed return could result in longer-term absences.
And the ranks of walking wounded were swelled this week with recent signing Josh Wallen now facing a potential long lay-off.
However, that was said before Tuesday’s night’s training session. Hopefully the prospects may have changed come match day.
Hemel had added striker Mo Bettamer to the squad prior to Saturday’s clash on a one-month loan deal from Barnet and he made debuted in the starting line-up.
The 26-year-old said on Twitter after his debut: “Not the result we wanted, we must put that right come next week!
“Good to finally be getting competitive minutes and getting my season started.
“Mention to the fans, who were ledge, despite the result. They kept us going.”
After a few days to reflect on the match, Moore said on his Twitter account on Tuesday: “You learn more in defeat. Looking forward to a positive week and preparing to bounce back on Saturday.
“Never [get] too high, never [get] too low.”
Hemel v Wealdstone : Sam Beasant, Jacques Kpohomouh, Craig Braham-Barrett, Munashie Sundire, Connor Essam (captain), Tyrone Sterling, Liam Nash, Jake Howells, Sam Ashford, Jack Midson (Issac Galliford), Mo Bettamer. Subs not used : Sydney Ibie, Alvin Magagda, Danny Boness.