ALRESFORD Town will spare a thought for injured club skipper Simon Everett when they continue their FA Vase odyssey at Hallen tomorrow.
Excitement is building for the Magpies who, prior to this season, had never progressed beyond the first round.
But as they head to Bristol with just 90 minutes separating them from the last 16, there will be an element of sadness that guiding light Everett won’t be patrolling the midfield engine room.
The influential central midfielder had been troubled with a stomach strain since October. It turns out to be a hernia which requires an operation.
Co-boss Danny Robinson explained: “We got Simon back in training and he went to stretch for the ball and felt a twinge.
“I feel for him. He’s our club captain and was immense for us last year.
“There’s a glimmer of hope he might be back towards the end of April but, potentially, he could miss the rest of the season.
“But Simon’s still a big part of it and he’ll come to Bristol tomorrow.”
Andrew Mott and Steve Hall can both fill the central midfield gap, but Chris Manning will most likely get the nod alongside Stuart Green as Alresford bid to build on their 7-2 third-round cruise at Saltash.
Manning impressed and scored last weekend as the Magpies goal machine clicked back into action with a 5-1 crushing of Newport IoW, taking them fourth in the Sydenhams Premier.
“We hadn’t played since December 17, so it was a long old wait,” said Robinson. “But we’re a fit, young bunch and we hit the ground running against Newport, scoring two in the first eight minutes.”
Hallen sit eighth in the Toolstation Western Premier, a massive 29 points behind leaders Larkhall.
But they have already claimed two Wessex scalps – Whitchurch and Cowes – in the qualifying rounds.
“I’ve tried really hard to go and watch them, but every time they’ve been away,” said Robinson. “But I’ve had some good info from (Whitchurch boss) Jim Macey and (co-boss) Tim Cole’s son, Jack, has done a dossier on them.” With goalkeeper Jason Collins back from a one-match suspension, Alresford’s only absentees are Everett and defender Luke Dempsey who is on a pre-booked ski-ing trip.