Morecambe boss Jim Bentley faces a selection headache ahead of his side’s last game of the season at Southend on Saturday.
Bentley received a huge blow last week with the news that Chris McCready will be out of action for four months after an ankle operation and with Chris Doyle suspended after his sending off on Saturday he has four central defenders unavailable.
Bentley said: “We really are struggling for numbers now which is always a possibility when you have a small squad.
“It is something I have feared all season but thankfully it has only happened right at the end of the year when we are safe.
“It is a long, hard season and it puts a huge amount of strain on a small squad.
“We have been wrapping Chris McCready up in cotton wool for weeks because he has been in pain after games and we now know why.
“We sent him for a scan last week and found out he had a micro fracture and decided to get it operated on. Unfortunately it looks like he will be out for 14 to 16 weeks and that will affect his pre-season.”
Bentley handed a first substitute appearance to 16-year-old defender Aaron McGowan on Saturday as he became the youngest Morecambe player in the Football League.
He said: “Aaron came to the club on the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) and has done remarkably well.
“Nothing seems to phase him and he has made every step up in class relatively easily and even on Saturday showed he wasn’t afraid to make a challenge and get stuck in at first-team level.
“With the way football is it is important that you spend time developing your own talent.”
*Andy Wright was named The Visitor’s player of the year at the club’s awards evening at the Globe Arena on Saturday.
Stewart Drummond won players’ player of the year and Shrimpsvoices player of the year.
Outgoing club secretary Neil Marsdin was named club person of the year.
Jack Redshaw picked up the golden boot and Kevin Ellison the goal of the season for his strike against Rochdale.