CHIPPENHAM Town manager Adie Mings has admitted his side will be up against it when they take on third-placed Merthyr Tydfil at Hardenhuish Park tomorrow.

The clash looks set to play a critical role in the Southern League promotion race and the Bluebirds boss is contending with the absences of no less than six first-team players, plus the departure of centre back Alex Kite.

The midfield will provide a particular headache for Mings, with Kye Holly suspended for two games and Ashley Williams banned for one.

Skipper Iain Harvey is still struggling with an ongoing foot injury and Luke Gullick and Sam Allison, who have both played in midfield for the Bluebirds this season, are also injured.

Matters do not get much better in defence as full back Kevin Halliday is suspended for two games, while Kite’s loan spell has finished so he has returned to Bristol Rovers.

Mings said: “It’s a massive game against a really in-form side. We’re going to have our work cut out, we’ve got masses of injuries and suspensions.

“If you take seven players out I think it’s going to hurt any side, but it gives the fringe players the chance to step up to the plate. They (Merthyr) are well-established in the top five, I think they have been there most of the season. They are big, strong and very well organised.

“It’s no coincidence they are where they are, we’re going to have to be on top of our game.

“But sometimes in the face of adversity you can come out on top.”

Mings admits the side may have a patched-up look to it but says the 11 men selected are more than capable of competing with the Welsh outfit.

He said: “The difficult part of it is where you’re trying to put players into a system, and a lot of them have probably not played regularly.

“But they are good players and have got a lot of encouragement from me, Tommy (Callinan) and Gary (Kemp). We’ll try and coax them through the game.

“I believe in these players when I see what they do in training week-in, week-out. It’s a case of them having the confidence to go out there in front of a fairly big crowd and producing what they can produce.”

Mings voiced his disappointment at losing on-loan centre back Alex Kite, who has impressed during his time at Hardenhuish.

He said: “We wanted to keep him (Kite) for the rest of the season but we’d have had to register him by January 1.

“Bristol Rovers were more than pleased for us to keep him.

“He’s been a great asset to the side, it’s a big loss to lose him now but we’re going to have to get on with it.”

The Bluebirds boss said fans should not expect a replacement for the departed centre half any time soon.

He said: “It’s very difficult when funds are limited. You can’t just keep bringing players in willy-nilly.”