CLIFTON are hoping their injury crisis will ease in time for them to stave off the possibility of relegation from County League Division One.
The Chapel Lane side slipped to within 18 points of the drop zone when they were thrashed by leaders Eckington on Saturday.
And while – in theory – they should have enough in their locker to stay clear of trouble, it could hinge on how soon they get people back.
Matt Wilson, in his first season as captain, has been faced with a tricky year.
Most notably, he lost key all-rounder Campbell Ogilvie with a broken finger a month ago.
But Australian import Jamie Barnes has also had to return home early after his mother was taken seriously ill, Matt Yardley has had an ankle injury and Alex Wooliscroft was missing this week after going over on his ankle.
Second-team captain Liam Bull would have stepped up to help but a dislocated knee has ruled him out for the rest of the season.
It all adds up to a fierce baptism for Wilson.
"The injuries have come at a time when we've played the top teams in the division as well, so the fixture list has not been kind to us," he said.
"Having said that, the senior players have not reacted as well as we would have hoped.
"The batting, particularly, has let us down in the last three games.
"We've scored 151, 103 and 77 and you're not going to win games putting scores like that on the board."
Ogilvie's aggressive batting and ability to swing the ball have been badly missed – but he looks like being back in time for the run-in.
"It will be beneficial all round to get Campbell back and while he might be missing for this Saturday (away to Duffield), I am hoping he will be back for the home game against Matlock the week after," added Wilson.
Eckington were certainly in no mood for charity when the rain finally relented sufficiently for a 35-overs a side game to start at Chapel Lane on Saturday.
Against keen bowling from Eckington's South African, Kyle Heyns, and captain Tom Dawson, Clifton's progress was slow.
Heyns sent back openers Matt and Will Wilson and Dawson, on his way to a miserly 1-21 from 11 overs, accounted for Edd Wilson.
Jack Barker dug in for 26 from 60 balls but there was no way that Clifton's 77-8 from 35 overs looked enough.
Nor was it, as openers Danny State and Steve Nicholas ripped into a depleted attack. Nicholas reached an unbeaten 50 in only 28 balls and State was unbeaten on 29 from 19 balls as they reached their target in only 7.5 overs.