Bo’ness United gaffer Allan McGonigal thinks the loss to injury of prolific trio Marty Wright, Fraser Keast and Chris Donnelly is effectively like losing 60 goals a season.
Allan was speaking after Saturday’s disappointing 1-0 home loss to Dundonald Bluebell which leaves Bo’ness third bottom of the East Superleague table.
He said: “Marty and Fraser scored 45 goals between them last season.
“Chris chipped in with another 15 goals and scored seven or eight earlier this season.
“They are all struggling for fitness at the moment.
“You could never have foreseen that at the start of the season.
“We build our team around these three players.
“To lose them all has been frustrating for everybody.
“Although Fraser came on as a sub he’s still not fit. At least Marty had a jag this week to try and help with his rehabilitation.
“The supporters are feeling the same pain as us about our current position.
“But we need them to continue to back the team as, for the first time on Saturday, I saw good signs in our defence and midfield.”
A first half defensive error by Ross Campbell cost Bo’ness against Dundonald, but Allan said that Campbell had been “magnificent” other than that.
And the Bo’ness gaffer was also impressed with the efforts of a pair of new signings, ex-Linlithgow ace Andy Shirra in midfield and Ryan Miller – newly arrived from Sauchie – up front.
Meanwhile, McGonigal is hoping that favourable draws in three separate cup competitions can give the BUs a welcome break from their dismal league form.
McGonigal said: “We are hoping for cup runs this year.
“We have had so much bad luck in the league, but at least these draws are fine for us.
“All the cup ties we have coming up are winnable. We’re making no excuses.”
The draws firstly see Bo’ness travel to West Calder United – who play two divisions lower – in a League Cup tie this Saturday.
The Newtown Park outfit have also landed a Scottish Junior Cup second round tie at Brechin Vics on Saturday, October 28, and an East of Scotland Cup second round encounter against Haddington Athletic on a date still to be decided.
Allan thinks the BUs’ biggest threat against West Calder could come from striker David Love, an ex-Bo’ness and Hibs player who has been in prolific scoring form.