A ‘DISASTROUS’ start to the New Year has left Clee Hill United facing a complete tactical rethink, admits boss Wayne Whitbread after losing his two main strikers to injury.

United were replaced at the top of the Herefordshire Premier Division by Malvern Town Reserves thanks to Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at third-placed Kington Town.

But worse than the result were injuries to top scorer Josh Carpenter (ankle ligaments) and Craig Breakwell (knee), with both set to be out for four to six weeks.

Manager Whitbread said: “We will be looking for other bodies to try to fill that void of goals that Josh and Craig score for us.

“We have to find other ways of putting the ball in the back of the net and maybe find other ways to play because we set the team up to feed those two.

“I’m praying for a month of rain but I think that boat has already sailed!” Whitbread joked. “No,” he added, “that would be unfair because I really have a lot of faith in the other lads.

“We have lads who can find the net, we just have to move them around a little bit.

“We’ve been able to play an open game before, knowing that we’ve always got that goal threat with Josh and Craig, but now we might have to readjust.”

Clee Hill visit Hinton in the Herefordshire Charity Bowl quarter-final this Saturday with Whitbread grateful of the break from league action but struggling for numbers.

They paid the price for a slow start at Kington as Nick Evans tapped home Joe Mayglothling’s cross to put the hosts ahead midway through the first half.

Clee Hill responded ten minutes later as Breakwell beat two defenders to fire in from a tight angle but Kington regained the lead before half-time as Brian Dyer headed home Mayglothling’s free-kick.

Mayglothling drilled a 25-yard free-kick into the top corner to make it 3-1 in the second half and there was no way back for United, despite Breakwell reducing the deficit from the penalty spot.

Whitbread reflected: “It was a good game and a draw would have been a fair result.

“They bossed the first 20 minutes and it took us a while to get going but then we felt like we took control of the game and had a lot of chances."