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Johnson rocked by injury crisis

STEVE Johnson could be without nine regulars for Saturday’s clash with Nationwide play-off rival Thurrock.

Lee Phillips, Danny Byrne, Mark Boyce, Kieran Keene and Bernardo Cariata are all rated ‘severely doubtful’ following the Terras 2-2 friendly draw with Yeovil Town last night.

The injured quintet join long-term injury victims Adam Wilde, Jamie Impey, Dave Waterman and Martin Barlow on the sidelines.

And boss Johnson admitted the crisis marks the toughest test of his short Weymouth managerial reign.

He told Echosport: “The injury situation is completely unreal, especially seeing as the game was not overly physical but played in a good spirit.

“Despite that we lost five senior players to injury, six if you include trialist midfielder Michael Phelps who we think may have fractured a cheekbone.

“And what’s made things worse is they all are severely doubtful to play in what is a huge game against Thurrock at the weekend.

“Lee Phillips came off with a groin strain and is struggling to walk, while Danny Byrne and Bernardo Cariata also both suffered groin injuries.

“Mark Boyce twisted his ankle in a tackle and Kieran Keene picked up a knock on his knee.

“Jamie Impey and Martin Barlow are also out long-term and Adam Wilde and Dave Waterman are due to have ultra sounds on their injuries this week.

“That means we’re probably going to be without at least nine first team players on Saturday and, by my reckoning, that means we’ve got only eight fit members of the squad left.

“Everything seems to have come at once and I’m going to have my work cut out getting some fit bodies in ahead of Saturday.

“It’s going to be a big test and I’m certainly going to try and call in a few favours between now and then.”

One man who won’t be appearing for Weymouth in the near future is Chukki Eribenne.

The out of favour striker, who has just returned from a loan spell with Aldershot, is set to join their Conference National rivals Farnborough Town on a three-month loan deal.

“Chukki wants to play games and I couldn’t guarantee him that here,” said Johnson.

“The irony about it is the move has happened just when Lee Phillips has picked up an injury.

“Despite that, I’m working on getting another striker and hopefully something productive will happen shortly.”

On the field, Byrne fired a first half double against a Yeovil side littered with fringe players and trialists.

But the Glovers hit back after the break when first Aaron Davies and then substitute Yemi Obedabe got the visitors back on terms.

Johnson said: “It may sound strange but apart from the injuries, tonight was a worthwhile exercise.

“I’d rather play games against good teams like Yeovil than train.

“But my main priority now is getting people in before Saturday and it may well be I have to lean on my brother (Yeovil boss Gary) to see if he can spare anyone.”

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