BISHOP'S Cleeve boss Alex Sykes is scouring the market for a forward player who can give his side the necessary boost they need to climb off the bottom of the Southern League.
After seeing his side compete, but again fall to a defeat – their fifth consecutive loss – at Sholing on Wednesday night, Sykes has redoubled his efforts.
With injuries and unavailability hitting his squad ahead of the long midweek slog to Southampton, Sykes was forced to don the boots himself and play up front.
He hopes to welcome Joe Parker back from Hartpury College duty in the England Schools FA Colleges Under-18s Trophy in time for their trip to Abingdon tomorrow (3pm) but that won't stop the search.
Assistant manager Matt Rose and Gloucester City midfield man Matt Liddiard are also set to boost a threadbare squad for what Sykes has called a crucial game.
"I am desperately searching for a forward to help us out because we need some help at the top of our team at the moment," Sykes said.
"At the end of the day I'm 38 and I can't be expected to play up front every week, especially with the long, hard trawl of games that we have.
"I'm relatively happy with our defence and midfield and we are competing in games, we just need the boost of having another forward in." Winger Saul Williams was recalled by parent club Forest Green from his loan stint with the Villagers in time to sit on the bench at Luton Town last week and remains with the Blue Square Bet Premier club.
Sykes said he was in almost constant contact with Rovers boss Dave Hockaday and his former Gloucester City chief Dave Mehew about possible loan acquisitions, but that none were imminent.
But recruits aside, the Cleeve boss said that his squad will be good enough to go to Abingdon tomorrow and earn three crucial points.
"We competed well for 60 minutes at Sholing on Wednesday and missed a few chances – me included – and then just lost our way after they scored," Sykes said.
"We just need to get out of this roll of losing games because that can become a bit of a habit, just as winning games has done.
"If we were going to Abingdon at any other time of the season then I would be expecting three points and we need to think that way tomorrow."
A late decision will be made on Parker's inclusion depending on how involved he is with Hartpury's semi-final clash with Stanmore College in London today.
Otherwise defender Jon Crowford is the only doubt after he picked up a slight knock in the defeat at Sholing."