Influential Cahill Beacom misses Ballinamallard United’s trip to Portadown’s Shamrock Park on Saturday.
The midfielder tweaked a hamstring in last weekend’s game against Crusaders and could be missing for three weeks.
On the plus side, the versatile Stephen Feeney has recovered from a calf injury and will be part of the squad that makes the journey up the M1.
United boss Whitey Anderson still has nightmares when he walks through the gates of the County Armagh club – his team were mauled, beaten 11-0, at the same venue two years ago.
“Don’t remind me of that,” he chuckled. “That was a day I’d prefer to forget about. It was a freak result that happens now and again.
“Thankfully, we are going there on the back of a few decent results. We’ve won at Glentoran and at Linfield before drawing against Crusaders last weekend.
“We were unfortunate not to hold on for the win as they scored very late on.
“So we can take a great deal of confidence from those results.”
Anderson acknowledges that Portadown can blow hot and cold. The reality is Ronnie McFall’s boys have already kissed goodbye to any hopes of lifting the Danske Premiership title, having fallen 12 points adrift of leaders Linfield.
“I hope we catch them on another cold day,” added Anderson. “They will obviously be disappointed with their current position . . . and they’ll be smarting after coming off 3-0 beating at Cliftonville last weekend.”
“That can work on one of two ways. It can make them even more determined, or it can have a serious effect on their confidence. We have to make sure we go there and work hard for the 90 minutes. Beacom’s absence is a blow, but Feeney will be fine.
“He has been a big player for us since he signed from Sligo. He played in defence against the Blues . . . and was up front at the Oval. Feeno can even play in midfield.
“You know what you are going to get from him . . . and we’ll need all of his experience and hard work at Shamrock Park. He knows the game inside out.
“He travels from Sligo with Jason McCartney -- they are two big players for us.”
Midfield Shane McCabe remains out with knee problem.
Portadown will be missing striker Gary Twigg and defender Ken Oman, who both damaged a hamstring at Cliftonville last week.
Ronnie McFall’s ailing side approach the game on the back of a 3-0 mauling by the Reds and a home League Cup defeat by Warrenpoint Town.
“It’s time the players taking responsibility for their performance,” said McFall. “This is a must win match for us.”II