DEAN SAUNDERS says a bug that has swept through Doncaster Rovers over the past 48 hours has left him struggling to field a side tonight.
The League One outfit were already beset with injuries before the weekend and a virus has since laid low a host of first-team players.
Jamie McCombe, Sammy Clingan, Rob Jones, Tommy Spurr and Michael Woods are among those to have been left feeling unwell.
Saunders last night told the Yorkshire Post: “We have got huge problems in the camp and I am struggling to even get a team out.
“A virus has swept through the club, which on top of the injuries we have means I only have five fit first-team players at this moment in time.
“We weren’t in great shape at the weekend and I only put a couple of the lads (Jamie McCombe and Andy Griffin) on the bench to make up the numbers. Neither of them were fit enough to play.
“Since then, Jamie has gone down with this virus and is on antibiotics for a chest infection. It is the same with a few others.
“As it stands right now, we are struggling to field 11 players – and that’s including the youth team.”
Johnstone’s Paint Trophy regulations stipulate that managers have to field at least six of the side who played in the club’s last game or at least half a dozen of their top 11 appearance makers.
That means Saunders could be in danger of coming up short, something that could lead to Rovers being fined.
He said: “We have contacted the League as I don’t believe we should really be playing this game.
“Football is in the entertainment business and yet I can’t see what entertainment us getting thrashed is going to be.”
Saunders was hoping matters would improve overnight, but said if it did not and Rovers have to go with the team he has in mind that as a supporter he would ‘think twice about making the trip’.
Last six games: Crewe Alexandra WWLDWL, Doncaster Rovers LWWWWL. Last time: Crewe Alexandra 0 Doncaster Rovers 4; December 22, 2007; League One.
Referee: T Kettle (Rutland).