AFTER watching Farsley AFC surge up to third in the Evo-Stik North table, you would expect Neil Parsley not to have a king-sized selection headache.
But, unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth with his in-form side ready to grab any spades to hand and dig deep in tomorrow’s big test with leaders Salford City at Throstle Nest.
Beset by the twin ills of injury and unavailability, Farsley are likely to be without several key personnel for the clash with Salford, partly bought out in the summer by five household names from Manchester United’s class of ’92 – Gary and Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Nicky Butt.
Gibraltar forward Adam Priestley is continuing his international odyssey with the international newcomers, who face Martin O’Neil and Roy Keane’s Republic of Ireland in their second Euro 2016 qualifying game in Dublin tomorrow tea-time.
Fellow frontman Aiden Savory, who has blazed a trail with seven goals this term and is figuring prominently in the Evo-Stik First Division North scoring stakes, is a doubt after coming off after an hour of Tuesday evening’s 2-0 home success over New Mills.
James Riley was forced to exit the fray early on in that encounter against the Cheshire outfit, vanquished thanks to goals from Lewis Nightingale and Rob O’Brien (penalty) and is also struggling for tomorrow’s test.
To compound matters, Aaron Hardy and Josh Grant missed the midweek game and are also doubts.
Farsley’s selection options were also further diminished last week when Jason St Juste departed to join North Ferriby United.
But despite the disruption, all has been set fair of late on the pitch with Parsley’s players having won their last three matches in the league and four out of their last five in all competitions.
Manager Parsley said: “Our form is good and the lads have taken on board the way we want to play and confidence is good. But we are just struggling with injuries and player availability.
“It’s a big headache for a big game like Saturday and our squad has taken a big hit over the past 10 days or so.
“Yes, we will be up against it. But we will give it our best shot and see what happens.
“You dig in and who knows? If they are below par and we rise to the challenge, we can get a good result. That is why you get ‘cup upsets’ and things like that.”
Farsley’s form may have been impressive, but Salford, very much the pre-season story before a ball was kicked in the division, have been truly outstanding with Phil Power’s men living up to their hype, having dropped points just once in nine league matches this term to set the pace at the summit.
For his part, Parsley is not concerned with all the hullabaloo regarding City, and is concentrating purely on his own side.
He said: “They have a good squad and their results speak for themselves.
“But there are other big clubs in our division and the accolades and name-dropping and everything like that is their business.
“We are at home and if the lads give their all and perform to their capabilities, then we won’t be far away.”
Meanwhile, Priestley flew out on Tuesday morning with his Gibraltar colleagues to Ireland and they will fly back to their team base in Portugal following the game at the Aviva Stadium tomorrow.
Gibraltar then host Georgia in Faro on Tuesday, with Priestley hoping to impress the management ahead of the glamour Group D clash with world champions Germany in Berlin on November 14.
Parsley said: “Hopefully, he will get in the squad for that as it will be great experience for him.”