PERSHORE Town have enlisted the help of Willenhall Town by signing five of their players as their relegation battle reaches its crunch.
Town had been dealt a double blow after playmaker Dean Waldron was effectively ruled out for the rest of the Midland League Division One season, while influential midfielder Dane Aldington will be sidelined for two weeks.
However, manager Quentin Townsend has equipped the squad for their final eight games by signing Willenhall player-manager Mark Habbershaw, top scorer Chadd Birch, his brother Remie, a utility player, and midfielders Ben Perks and Harrison Barrett.
The link comes via Pershore skipper Shaun Griffiths, a friend of Habbershaw’s, and the players have signed on dual registration forms since Willenhall play in the West Midlands League.
With Willenhall only having six league games left, the quintet will be vital back-up as Pershore look for the three wins Townsend believes they need to stay up.
On Saturday Pershore look to extend their unbeaten run to six matches when they face fourth placed Hinckley AFC at the King George V Stadium and then face a must-win at basement side Southam United.
“The transfer deadline is coming up and having the lads from Willenhall to come in as dual-registered players will give us the strength in depth,” said Townsend.
“I’m not going to make wholesale changes. The players have shown that everybody is fighting for the cause but the priority is to get the points we need to stay in Division One.
“We’ve got eight games left. Four are against teams near the top of the league in Hinckley, Leicester Road home and away and Bromsgrove and, without being negative, they are going to be tough.
“We’ve also got four against teams in Southam, Littleton, Stafford and Heather who have been up and down and who we would fancy our chances against.
“Southam are adrift, but otherwise it’s really tight and I think 35 points will be the minimum requirement.”
Townsend fears former Worcester City midfielder Waldron will now need an operation on a hip injury which flared up again in Saturday’s 0-0 home draw with Uttoxeter Town.
Waldron, who had been sidelined for a year with City, had hoped the problem had been cured but he is now awaiting surgery.
“Dean wants to battle through and keep playing, he’s really enjoyed himself at Pershore, but whether he can is a different matter,” said Townsend. “He is clearly not right. Hopefully he can get the operation done in the summer and he can be back in pre-season.”
Aldington, meanwhile, faces a two-week break on the sidelines with a hamstring injury but top scorer Jamie Clarke, who missed the Uttoxeter game, will be back to face Hinckley.