Broken foot Bennett faces lengthy lay-off

Striker Chris Bennett will be out for up to eight weeks, after breaking a bone in his foot during Bamber Bridge's ill-fated midweek FA Trophy replay at Grantham Town.

Bennett was forced out of the tie – which Brig lost 3-0 – after half an hour, on a night when boss Andy Whiitaker was already missing several key first teamers.

It was also the first match in which Whittaker was without Cyril Sharrock, now starting a new life in Australia, yet the Brig boss praised his replacement Michael Bingham, the former Burscough and Chorley keeper, and fellow returnee Glenn Steel.

Brig return to Irongate tomorrow, with Eastwood Town the visitors – just five weeks after a commendable draw at their Nottinghamshire base.

That proved to be the first of six straight 1-1 draws, followed by a 2-0 win at Kidsgrove and a 2-2 draw against Clitheroe that has stretched them to a mighty eight-match unbeaten league run.

Whittaker said: "Chris Bennett will be out for six to eight weeks, so we've now lost both strikers in a week, with Neil Spencer having suffered a hamstring injury last Saturday.

"I'm looking to find a replacement, but in the meantime Mitch Newsham has done well in the

reserves, and scored a nice goal for the first team last Saturday.

"But again, our club physio Andy Hosgood has been

extremely busy, and this continuing run of Saturday and Tuesday matches has taken its toll."

Whittaker's stretched side are back on the road after the weekend, with a Wednesday night trip to Bishop Auckland followed by a further league away day, to Bridlington Town next Saturday.

But the Irongate manager credited his side for their performance in Lincolnshire on Tuesday, and added: "We battered them football-wise, but went behind to a debatable opener – where a player was offside – from which we never got back.

"They played 'boom it football', yet we did well against them and put in a creditable performance, pushing Ross Bain up late in the game, yet then falling to two late breakaway goals as they clinched the tie. And to make matters worse, we lost Stephen Brown to a second yellow card in the final minute."

Meanwhile Chorley take the long trip to Bridlington Town tomorrow, having slipped to a 2-1 defeat at home to Clitheroe on Tuesday night.

Player-boss Shaun Teale said: "We went 1-0 down fairly early, and Jamie Vermiglio missed what could only be classed as a sitter before half-time.

"The lads were up for it from there, but we inexplicably conceded a second goal, and it was disappointing. It was similar to Saturday at Guiseley, but on this occasion we didn't score our goal quite so early. And when we did we were left with very little time.

"The good thing is that from our recent disappointments we have not lost any further ground in the league – somehow.

"We're still just eight points off sixth place, and there are still some very strange results going on – not least Bishop Auckland coming back from Kendal with a 3-3 draw. "

Meanwhile, Teale added that he had brought in goalkeeper Phil Priestley from Radcliffe Borough.

KENDAL Town boss Tony Hesketh is ready to ring the changes at Parkside Road.

Kendal began the season as red-hot favourites for the

Unibond first division title but the midweek draw with strugglers Bishop Auckland has left them off the pace.

"We've some excellent players at Kendal but maybe the time has come to freshen the squad up a bit," said Hesketh.

"Teams are coming here and raising their game against us but we have to deal with that and find a more consistent level because right now we aren't rising to the occasion.

"We've had a poor start by our own standards, but while I'm disappointed I'm not despondent because I still think that we can be a force to be reckoned with."

Kendal host pace setters Colwyn Bay tomorrow and Hesketh added: "We've a good record against Colwyn Bay and we are only six or seven points behind the top three so we've got everything to play for still."

Unibond First Division

leaders CLITHEROE meet Kidsgrove Athletic at Shawbridge tomorrow.

Clitheroe's impressive victory at Chorley in midweek saw them take top spot and manager Tommy Lawson said: "The confidence it will give the lads is fantastic, and if we keep playing with the same level of commitment we showed at Chorley you never know what we might achieve this season.

"We are unbeaten if five games now and that's a superb effort from all the players."

Lawson's assistant boss Benny Phillips has decided to rejoin

Witton Albion.

The Clitheroe boss added: "Players, managers and assistants move on, and I've already got a replacement in mind."