Peterhead defender Scott Ross believes the injury crisis at the Blue Toon is the worst he has experienced in his career.
The Blue Toon were without six players for their 2-0 defeat at Stranraer last weekend and lost another three during the game – with Andy McCarthy sent off, while Rory McAllister and Joe McKee both went off injured.
Co-managers Jordon Brown and Ryan Strachan had only four substitutes on their bench and only three were outfield players.
Ross, 32, believes the current absentee list has been one of the most challenging of his career.
On Friday, Peterhead secured two loan signings to give them more depth, with defender Flynn Duffy returning from Dundee United and midfielder Alfie Stewart – fresh from signing a new Aberdeen deal – arriving until the end of the season.
Speaking before those much-needed reinforcements were confirmed, Ross said: “I’ve been involved in football since I was 16 and in my 16-year career I don’t think I’ve ever been in a team which is going into games with three subs on the bench.
“Hopefully a few of the lads will be back. Connor o’Keefe and big Jordan Armstrong should be there or thereabouts and hopefully Joe McKee will make it, too.
“It’s part and parcel of football. Things go against you at times and it’s all about how you react.
“We probably haven’t reacted as well as we should have, but we have to pick ourselves up and go again.”
Ross’ admiration for pacesetters Stenhousemuir
The chopping and changing of personnel has come at the worst possible time for the co-managers with their side’s run of four defeats in the last five League Two games coinciding with Stenhousemuir stringing together a remarkable 11-game winning run.
The Warriors have pulled 14 points clear at the top of the division as a result of their hot streak.
Ross has congratulated Stenny on their form.
He said: “It’s an incredible run and credit to Stenny.
“When you are going through a run like the one they are on, it almost feels as if you just have to turn up and you are going to win again.
“I went through that myself at Cove Rangers to an extent in League One, where we went 26 games undefeated.
“You find yourself going into games convinced you are going to win before it has kicked off.
“Credit to Stenny. They are one of the teams who have been able to field probably the same 10 every week.
“They’ve had the rub of the green all teams need at times – but credit to them, it’s been a fantastic run from them and one we need to try to emulate.”
‘We know we can do it’
Ross’ admiration for the run put together by Gary Naysmith’s side is clear, but he believes his side can take inspiration from their title rivals – starting with Saturday’s trip to seventh-placed East Fife.
The defender said: “We won seven in a row, so we know it’s in our locker. We just need more bodies back to lend a helping hand by helping us make changes.
“When you are drawing a game you need to make changes late to give yourselves an extra boost and we haven’t had that opportunity for a few weeks.
“We know we can do it, but we as players need to go out there and show we can do it.
“East Fife are a very good team who seem to be in a false position.
“They are very strong in the wide areas and upfront, and we’ll need to go down there and put in a performance if we’re to pick up the three points.