Neil Tolson vowed to step up the quest for reinforcements after two more injury setbacks cast a shadow over a battling Altrincham performance at Chester.
Alty rallied strongly in the second half, after going behind to a 20th-minute Ross Hannah goal, and salvaged a valuable point with a Michael Rankine header on the hour.
But a further strain was placed on a squad already depleted by injury and illness when Damian Reeves hobbled off with a hamstring problem and Nicky Clee was stretchered off after seriously aggravating a long-standing groin condition.
Clee left the ground on crutches, and assistant-manager Tolson, again in charge in the absence of virus victim Lee Sinnott, said: ‘We’ve already been looking at bringing players in but there’s going to be even more urgency about it now. The same criteria applies, that they’ve got to be right for us, but, believe me, no stone will be left unturned, because we are low on numbers.
‘We are constantly looking. We are actively looking and have been for a while, but we do feel it is important we bring the right type of person in. We have been stepping it up for the past few weeks. There have been a lot of conversations going on, with a view to strengthening, and hopefully we can get a couple of fresh faces in next week.
‘We do believe some of the younger players here have the potential to go on and make their mark. We are not scared to throw Sam Heathcote on, we think there’s something there with Joel Swift and then there’s the likes of Harry Cain and Rhain Davis. These are all good youngsters, but are they ready to be pitched in against Dover, Welling, etc? Probably not.
‘So we’ve got to do what’s right for them and the club, because we are down to the bare bones. We can’t bring anyone in for the FA Trophy replay at Leamington on Tuesday, so the young lads will be involved there, but we will be doing our level best to recruit before our next league game.
‘Nicky is genuinely struggling. He was due to see a specialist, anyway, about a hernia, and we were hoping he would be able to get through the rest of the season but it has now completely flared up.
‘It’s the same area, and he was just stretching for the ball when he felt it go. He said he felt something completely tear, so it’s not looking very good for him at all. We’ll have him assessed and take it from there, but it was always the case that he would need an operation, so maybe this has forced the issue. The quicker we get him in, the quicker we can get him back on the pitch. We need him. You could see that from the 20 minutes he was on as a second-half substitute.
‘With Reevesie, we think it’s a slight niggle in his hamstring, so we are going to have to closely monitor him over the next 24-48 hours. Hopefully, it’s not as bad as we first thought, when he signalled he was in trouble and came off, but we will have to be very careful with him.
‘It was a good point and certainly an important one. We’ve been playing some good stuff, but we all know the importance of having something to show for it. We started strongly, passing the ball and moving it around very sharply, and were unlucky when Michael Rankine hit the post. But we had to step it up in the second half, and I thought we did that really well. We were good value for the draw.'”