Struggling Mansfield Town suffered a double hammer blow yesterday when they learned that influential pair Sam Clucas and Ben Hutchinson face lengthy injury lay-offs.
Both players had to go off during Tuesday night’s 4-1 home FA Cup replay defeat by Oldham and now leading scorer Clucas faces two months on the sidelines while midfield ace Hutchinson will be out for up to six weeks.
The Stags will be further depleted on Saturday when centre half John Dempster will have to sit it out suspended following a red card on Tuesday.
“It’s bad news for us,” said manager Paul Cox, whose side have not won in 11 League games. “I think we are going to lose Sam for up to eight weeks.
“We are just finding out if he needs a minor operation. He has damaged an ankle ligament and a bit of it has come away from the bone.
“Hutch will be our for four to six weeks as he has a bit of a tear in his hamstring.
“It’s like a conveyor belt here. Just when you are getting one or two back you lose one or two others, and both are quality players.
“There has been a lot of talk about Clucas this year and I though Hutch was playing well and looking sharp too.
“But we just have to get our heads down and get on with it. It’s part and parcel of the game and happens at other clubs as well.
“We are still waiting to hear about John Dempster’s suspension but we think he may be out for two games as he has already had one suspension this season.”
The good news for Cox was that injured pair Lee Stevenson and Ritchie Sutton played in the 2-0 home reserve win over Scunthorpe United last night, a game somehow completed in atrocious conditions.
Chris Clements got another hour of fitness under his belt while Ryan Tafazolli and John McCombe also impressed.
“We do have options and I hope the boys that played last night settle down and come in for training on Friday and are available for Saturday,” said Cox.