WITH the new season only weeks away, Leek CSOB have been hit by a catalogue of injuries to key players.
Defender Nathan Ball has had a toe operation and is likely to be out of action for the next two months.
Tom Bourne is sidelined for up to six weeks after injuring his knee in the friendly against Rylands. An x-ray has revealed sprained ligaments.
Callum Goldstraw will be missing for between two and four weeks with a groin strain, while striker Will Bown, pictured, is expected to need another another two weeks to recover from a toe injury.
However, he is expected to be fully fit for the opening game of the season in the Staffordshire County Senior League.
Young defender Owen Yewdell faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a broken jaw and nose, which needed an operation. He is likely to be out of the reckoning until Christmas.
Old Boys reserve team players have been briefed that pre-season friendly results are not the priority.
Team manager Nick Chawner said: "We need to look at new players coming in – to see what their strengths and weakness are, and who they are most effective playing with. You only get a fair picture of that by giving them game time."
"The effort and attitude has been there right from the start of pre-season training.
" It's very evident in these opening friendlies, the lads are taking on board what we want them to do in games, which is very pleasing. We are extremely satisfied with what we have seen so far.
"We have quite a few lads making their first steps into open age football from the youth ranks, and even some 16-year-olds from our younger teams."
CSOB reserves travelled to Foley on Saturday and came away with a creditable 1-1 draw.
Foley opened the scoring and would have gone 2-0 but for an outstanding save by Old Boys keeper Phil Bruce. The Old Boys got their reward when Kieran Wain finished off a flowing move with an equaliser 15 minutes from time.