SUSPENSIONS have caught up with Great Harwood at a critical stage of the NWCL Division Two season.
Harwood have a home game against Winsford on Saturday (ko 3pm) and then a local derby with Nelson at the Showground on Monday night (ko 7.45pm).
But striker Neil Zarac will miss the rest of the season with a 35-day ban following his sending-off against Flixton and defenders Ryan Parr and Anthony Green are also banned this week. And frontman Paul Mashiter is out with a ripped muscle which has hampered him for the last few months.
"We just can't get a settled side together," said boss John Hughes. "It is an important week as we need to win both to finish as high up the league as possible."
Harwood lost 2-0 to Maine Road on Saturday before their game against Blackpool Mechanics on Monday was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. They have won just one of their last nine league games and need to push on if they are to finish in the top four and win promotion.
"We hit the bar and had efforts kicked off the line against Maine Road - same old story - but that is football. They had one chance in the first half and they took it and then hit us just after the break."
Hughes admits he is struggling with his striking options.
"At the start of the season we had prolific scorer John Eastham and Matty Derbyshire. John's still recovering from an operation while Matty could be playing in the Premiership with Blackburn in the future. You just can't replace quality like that."
He has been trying out a few youngsters up front with Neil Burton and striker Dean Lord, a 17-year-old released from Blackburn, aiming to impress.