Absentees pile up for Fareham Town ahead of Baffins Milton Rovers season opener
Fareham Town could be without up to six first-team squad members for their Wessex League Premier Division opener tomorrow night.
Manager Pete Stiles will definitely be without the injured trio of Tom Settle, Connor Messenbird and summer signing Ben Rowthorn for the visit of Baffins Milton Rovers (7.45pm).
Meanwhile, Garry Moody still has two matches left to serve of a suspension from last season, while some squad members are currently isolating to fall in line with current Covid-19 guidelines.
Boss Stiles said he would have been worried had he been without such a high number of players last term, but he feels Fareham now have the squad depth to deal with the mounting absentee list.
The Reds boss said: ‘We’re looking forward to getting going. I’ve seen Baffins have got a few missing, we’ve got more than a few missing.
‘I’ve got Garry Moody suspended for two games, I’ve got Tom Settle and Connor Messenbird out for at least four weeks - they’ve just all picked up knocks.
‘New signing Ben Rowthorn, he picked up a knock in training, so he’ll be out for a couple of weeks yet.
‘We’ve got a couple still isolation so you’re looking at five or six out.
‘To be fair, we’ve got quite a large squad this year. We talked about this last season and thought that every man and his dog who’s been trying to get married or have a party over the past two years, they’re all going to do it this year, there are going to be weeks where players are away.
‘It’s not ideal what with Garry Moody being suspended as well from a game from last season.’
Remarkably, Fareham are winless on the opening day in the past seven seasons.
They last started a campaign with victory way back on 3 August 2013 - claiming a 2-1 triumph over Bemerton Heath Harlequins.
But Stiles stressed it's not a statistics that bothers him, saying his team will go out to do all they can to pick up three points against Baffins.
He said: ‘We’re looking forward to getting going but the first few weeks we’re going to be looking eagerly to get people back.
‘If this was this time last year and we lost five or six we’d have struggled more.
‘It’s all in the past - I really don’t care about stupid facts like that. Someone pointed it out to me, it is what it is, if we don’t start great then we don’t start great.
‘It doesn’t make any difference, we’ll be starting this game to win, that’s for sure.’