HADLEIGH United will tomorrow bid to reach the fourth round proper of the FA Vase for the first time in 17 years.

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But the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side’s preparations have been severely hampered ahead of the home tie with Oxhey Jets.

Manager Stuart Crawford and assistant Alan Dilloway, who was boss when the Brettsiders reached the last 16 before losing 4-1 at Metropolitan Police in the 1994/95 season, have been hit by a growing list of injuries and unavailability.

Definitely out are defender Kris Rose, who is awaiting a cartilage operation, and midfielders Chris McLaughlin and Matt Downing, who are unavailable.

Striker Lee McGlone and James Blades are both “very doubtful” with toe and ankle injuries respectively.

And defender Mark Goldfinch and striker Marcus Josiah are both rated as “50-50” with hamstring and ankle injuries respectively.

Blades, who had only been on the pitch for 15 minutes, and Josiah picked up their knocks during Tuesday night’s 1-0 defeat at home to Haverhill Rovers in the Red Insure Cup second round.

Liam Jennings, who himself has just returned to action after a lengthy spell on the sidelines, missed that match through illness.

Crawford, who had already lost Mark Maher to a pre-planned skiing trip for the rest of the season, said philosophically: “You always get injuries and suspensions at this time of the year.

“Hopefully we can get our injured players back as soon as possible. All the top teams in our league have suffered from missing key players so far this season.”

Hadleigh have now gone three games without a win leading into tomorrow’s tie against their Watford-based visitors, who themselves lost 4-1 to Hemel Hempstead Town in the Herts Senior Cup on Tuesday night.

That result signalled the end of their 20-match undefeated run. The Jets have won eight and drawn two of their last ten league games and were presented with the Spartan Premier Team of the Month Award for October before Tuesday’s match. They currently sit third in the Molten Spartan South Midlands Premier Division and in Lewis Putman have a striker with 37 goals, including 20 in cups, to his name already.

Crawford, whose plans to watch Hadleigh’s opponents last week were scuppered by the match being called off, said: “I have spoken to a manager in their league and he said they are a really good team.

“We will have to be at our best if we are to win the game and go through.”

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