The Ryman Football League
Published 17th August 2012
Ryman League Division One North opening game at home to Tilbury.
All four of his midfield players are fighting against time to try and regain fitness but definitely out will be the vastly experienced Danny Dafter whose knee injury will take another couple of weeks to recover. Witherspoon is hopeful that after a few more days' rest another experienced midfielder Lee Blackburn (back injury), along with young Connor Witherspoon (hamstring) and Reece Morgan (groin) might come through fitness tests to take their place in the team.
"It's going to be touch and go but we'll have to wait and see who comes through," said Witherspoon.
"Missing Danny will be a big blow because he's so influential but we'll cope because we have other good players in the squad and that gives them their chance." He went on: "It's come obviously at a bad time just before the big kick-off but these things happen in football and you have to get on with it."
Witherspoon's attack will be led by the returning Sherwin Stanley and Neil Cousins but there is also concern over Cousins, who picked up a groin injury in the side's impressive 2-0 away win in their final pre-season at Biggleswade Town on Saturday.
"I brought him off early on as a precaution and I'm sure he'll be fully fit for the Tilbury game," explained Witherspoon. "Despite these late injuries I still feel that we have a much stronger and better balanced squad than we did this time last year."
Witherspoon, who saw an Abs Seymour goal plus an own goal give his side the win last Saturday, knows that the Tilbury game is a difficult opener for them.
"They made the play-offs last season and will be fully geared up to repeat that," he said. "We didn't do too well against them last season and we've also pinched a couple of players from them during the summer so there will an extra edge to the game."
Witherspoon knows that the second league game away to Grays Athletic on Tuesday will also be a tough one because they are one of the pre-season favourites for promotion.
"They're one of those clubs in this division who have a big budget for players and have made their intentions clear that they want promotion," he said, "They are like newcomers Wroxham and also Harlow Town, Needham Market and one or two others who have been signing up players.
"But I'm quietly confident that we can more than hold our own and show that we can do well in this division," said Witherspoon. "We've a good squad and have some real promising youngsters coming through from last season's successful under-18 squad and who have already shown they are capable of making the step up to the first-team."
Town, who now know they will go to Halstead Town in their opening FA Cup game on Saturday week, will want to make an impressive start to their league campaign after falling away in the latter part of last season.
"Our problem last season was a lack of scoring goals while our defence was excellent so we've tried to address that during the summer and once everyone is fit I'm sure we'll be finding the net with more regularity," he added.
He went on: "We know it will be harder in this division this season because there are some quality sides but I'm confident we can do well and be better than last season."