Whitstable Town begin their campaign at home to Walton & Hersham on Saturday with joint-manager Danny Ward describing the club’s injury problems as “an absolute nightmare".
Ahead of the of the Ryman League, Division 1 South opener, Ward said: “In all my years in football, I’ve never had so many injured players at the start of a season.
“At training on Tuesday, we had more players watching than training and they are all senior players who would be starting on Saturday if they were fit.”
The names on the ‘sick list’ include Ashley Ulph, Rhys Cremin, Ollie Gray and Ian Pulman, who scored in last Saturday’s 3-2 win over Ashford United in the Oystermen’s final pre-season friendly.
Trailing 1-0 at half-time, Whitstable took control after Pulman equalised around the hour mark and Ryan Golding struck twice to give the home side a deserved victory over their Southern Counties East League opponents, who scored a second goal in injury-time.
Ward admitted that time will be at a premium in the opening weeks, with Whitstable due to play six matches in 17 days.
He said: “After Walton & Hersham, we’ve got away games against Hastings United (on Monday) and Guernsey, who are two of the favourites for the title, so it’s going to be tough, especially with all the injuries but I’m pleased the serious stuff is starting now.”