Cove Rangers lynchpin Ryan Strachan has challenged his team-mates to step up in the wake of a troubling injury situation.
Already without Harry Milne for the remainder of the campaign, Cove have also been dealt the blow of Jamie Masson being out for the season and requiring ankle surgery.
Masson was injured in the second half of the 4-0 Scottish Cup defeat to Rangers, while Milne ruptured ankle ligaments in training last month.
Club captain Mitch Megginson and Leighton McIntosh sat out the midweek draw at Clyde after picking up knocks at Ibrox, in what is proving a challenging period for the club after returning to action.
Strachan, who took the armband at Broadwood on Tuesday night, wants those still fit and ready to help fill the void until the end of the season.
He said: “We’re a team that’s pretty close-knit anyway – we win, lose, draw together. Injuries are part and parcel of the game and we’ve all wished the guys well in their recoveries.
“It could rally us and you hope it doesn’t weaken you, because you’re losing key players. You hope the players that are coming in stand up and do a job and I’m sure that will be the case.
“Harry and Jamie are our weapon down the left and they’ve been the partnership for the last three years now. Even when they’re not playing well, they’re still a presence and a part of the team.
“The run of games is challenging, especially for part-time guys that work. Some of the scheduling has been well-documented – we had a game Sunday night and on Tuesday night, both in Glasgow, as an Aberdeen team.
“It’s not fair, but we’re not moaning about it. It has resulted in some injuries unfortunately in a couple of key areas. Hopefully we don’t lose anymore and get a couple of key boys back at the weekend.”
Cove take on Dumbarton tomorrow at the Balmoral Stadium with three games to go before the League One split.
They still sit second in the table and leaders Falkirk dropped points on Tuesday night against in-form Montrose.
The promotion play-offs are within their grasp as a potentially exciting end to the season gathers momentum.
Strachan added: “It’s now crunch time. We need to be putting points on the board.
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“If we do cement the top five place then we need to make sure we then finish in the top four. We’re in a play-off position and if we can even better that and get first place that would be even better.
“We’re not looking that far forward and I’m sure the manager will be preparing a team for Saturday based on injuries, fitness levels and the experiences that the team needs to get three points.
“If we do get the play-off spot then we need the players available in as best a condition as they can. The more players you have who have played at that sort of level and been through play-offs before, then it gives you a better chance.
“We’ve brought players in and it’s time for everybody to step up to the plate and what better opportunity for them.”