Hadleigh United go into Saturday’s FA Vase fifth round game against Wisbech Town at the Millfield (3pm) with three key players missing.
Scott Chaplin, Matt Downing and Neil Calver are all ruled out.
Tesfaye Bramble has done some light training this week, but a decision on his fitness will be left until the last possible moment.
Bramble has been struggling for some weeks with a hamstring injury. Manager Stuart Crawford said the club had been resting him in the hope that he might be fit for Saturday. “But he has to be doubtful.”
Chaplin suffered an ankle injury against Newmarket Town last week and is due to see a physio; Calver’s knee injury means he is two to three weeks away from playing; Downing is working abroad and will not be back in the UK until next week.
“But it is what it is,” said Crawford. “We are not in the shape we would like to be, but we will field a strong side, and we’ll be firing from the off.”
He had intended to watch Hadleigh’s UCL Premier opponents, but the planned spying visit was called off when weather ruled out the fixture.
“I had them watched last Saturday by a couple of scouts. So I have plenty of information. We know what to expect. I will not be looking to adapt our game for them.”
Wisbech, who lie seventh in the UCL Premier Division, drew 1-1 with runaway leaders Spalding,
“That was an excellent result,” said Crawford. “Spalding have wiped the floor with most teams this season.
“We know Wisbech will fight for every ball, and we have to match that from the start.
“But if you get this far how can you not be fired up and competing?”
Hadleigh made the sixth round last season, losing their quarter-final 2-0 at eventual runners-up Tunbridge Wells,.
The Brettsiders have reached the fifth round with a 3-2 victory at Oxhey Jets and a 3-2 extra time home win over Welwyn Garden City.
Wisbech have won three away ties: 6-3 after extra time at Gornall Athletic, 1-0 at Walsall Wood, and 2-1 at Ashington.
Hadleigh, 15 points clear at the top of the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division, are expecting a large gate, and warn that parking at the ground is limited.
Spectators are urged to park in the town and walk to the Millfield. Admission is £7 and £4 for concessions.