Injury concerns for City boss

STRIKER Paul Hakim and left back Scott Cousins are doubtful for the weekend after being forced off with injury in the Setanta Shield defeat to Hayes & Yeading United on Tuesday. Defender James Fisher was also taken off as an injury precaution

STRIKER Paul Hakim and left back Scott Cousins are doubtful for the weekend after being forced off with injury in the Setanta Shield defeat to Hayes & Yeading United on Tuesday.

Defender James Fisher was also taken off as an injury precaution and City manager Steve Castle already has James Quilter, Ryan Frater, Chris Seeby and Rodney Hicks on the treatment table.

With the rout of Eastleigh proving the exception, City have struggled for goals this term scoring just five in the other eight fixtures. If top scorer Paul Hakim is ruled out for the weekend, Castle faces a major headache, with Simon Martin his only other fully fit striker at the club. Attacker Gary Cohen stretched his legs with a 90 minute stint against Hayes & Yeading but is still building up his fitness after two years out of the game with injury.

Forward Lee Clarke has been battling to recover top fitness after injury problems in pre-season and he featured as a substitute in the Setanta Shield coming on in midfield and bizarrely ending up at centre half alongside Ben Martin where he gave an accomplished display.


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Powerhouse Quilter proved a key man in a midfield role in the wins against Eastleigh and Bishop's Stortford and is hopeful he will be fit to return to action on Saturday for the Thurrock home game after suffering injury at Bath.

Castle is remaining optimistic that his side will shrug off the injury problems and find the scoring touch that allowed them to blast seven in two games with seven different goalscorers against Eastleigh and Stortford. He said: "If you think back to the Eastleigh game everything was falling into the right areas for us. We have to keep believing that we are going to do the right things.

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"We have four strikers at the football club, Simon Martin, Lee Clarke, Gary Cohen and Paul Hakim, but let's be honest only Simon Martin is fit. It is a problem.

"The injuries are very concerning with the size of our squad. We are only carrying one recognised left back and that is going to be an issue. The injury to Paul Hakim is another issue. They are all up in air at the moment. James Fisher came off with a thigh problem.

"We are trying the right things. Hassan Sulaiman is getting in the right positions and we are saying to him get it in the six yard box and he is trying his socks off to do that but it is not happening for him on occasions.

"When you are not putting the ball in the net you are putting pressure on the defence. We are not a million miles away from where we want to be and I think if we had some stats on our performances this season, possession wise, chance wise and crosses for and crosses against, it would favour us but it absolutely means nothing because three points are gained by putting the ball in the back of the net.

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