ACCRINGTON Stanley boss John Coleman is down to the bare bones of his squad for tomorrow's clash at local rivals Bury.
Midfielder Jimmy Ryan looks to be out for a while after suffering a huge gash on the front of his leg in Stanley's 2-1 win at Oldham in the Johnstone's Paint trophy on Tuesday night.
Ryan, who turns 21 on Sunday, needed an operation this week.
"At first I thought it was broken but it's a deep gash in my leg and also a blood clot," said the midfielder. "They are operating to remove the blood clot and they were going to try and stitch the gash although, if it was too deep, I am going to have to have a skin graft."
Chris King is struggling with a thigh strain, Dean Winnard missed Tuesday's clash though injury, John Mullin is waiting for an operation on his ankle while keeper Alan Martin is on Scottish U21 duty and striker Billy Kee is with the Northern Ireland squad.
And the Reds striker Paul Mullin joined Morecambe although Coleman has brought in defender Tom Lees, 18, who is on loan from Leeds until January.
"Losing Jimmy is a big blow," said Coleman although how long Ryan, who scored 14 goals last season, is out is still unclear.
"It would be a blow to anyone to lose a player of Jimmy's calibre but it was an innocuous challenge and was one of those things unfortunately.
"We will assess Chris King at the end of the week but it does give others a chance to stake a claim for a place."
The Reds desperately need a win as they currently lie in the bottom two with just one win out of their five league games.
And it's against a team they have never beat in their league - with four losses and two draws in their six meetings.
"Records like that are there to be broken but the problem with us at the moment is that we play one of two ways – either really well or really poorly.
"We are not getting any consistency. When we are not playing well, we don't keep things tight and make the game stale – we go either one way or another.
"But we need to get out of the bottom two as we do not want to slip to the bottom and we want to get out of the relegation places as soon as possible before it becomes a bug bear and a worry.
"If we play badly and roll over in the first 15 minutes like we have been doing and trailing 2-0 then we give ourselves a mountain to climb.
"What we have got to do is stay in the came and siee if we can impose ourselves on it and take all three points."
The Reds have conceded three goals in each of their last three league games and Coleman is hoping the addition of Lees, who made his debut against Oldham,will help cut out the errors.
"He is only young but Leeds have high hopes for him. He did well on Tuesday and will get stronger the more games we play.
"There is no getting away from it but our defending has been poor – and that's as a team not just the back four. We have got in the habit of conceding sloppy goals and it's got to stop."
Since all the good years of getting three promotions in his 10 years at the club, the last three years have been a rocky ride with Stanley having crisis after crisis, including the betting scandals, the change of ownership and now the winding up order.
Coleman said: "I just try and win games as that's all I can. The club has had many knocks and all it does it make you more satisfied when you have success as you know how hard earned it is."
THE draw for the second round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy is tomorrow on Soccer AM.