Paul Merson is confident that Walsall's injury list will ease in time for Saturday's trip to high-flying Huddersfield Town.
Already missing four experienced players, including himself, Merson lost three more players - Paul Smith, Anthony Gerrard and Jorge Leit?o - for last Saturday's visit of Milton Keynes Dons, he was further hampered when Craig Pead's return from suspension lasted barely 30 minutes before he limped off with a bruised hip.
But the Saddlers player/manager is still hoping that Pead will be fit for the daunting visit to take on the second-placed Terriers at the McAlpine Stadium and that Leit?o will have benefited from a week off.
But Merson, who will be without suspended playercoach Simon Osborn on Saturday's clash, has the rest of the week to worry about whether any more of his missing men will make it back into contention on time.
Merson is sidelined for two months with his groin problem, Darren Wrack is not expected to play again this season after his broken leg and Andy Oakes' hand is still in plaster after damaging his ligaments. But Merson's other injury concerns all appear short-term ones.
Steve Staunton is still troubled by a sore calf, while Gerrard missed Saturday's game with a leg injury and the southernbased Smith has been suffering from back spasms brought on by all the travelling he is doing.
"I'm not sure about Anthony Gerrard," said Merson. "We knew his leg was not going to be all right at training on Thursday.
"Smith's got spasms in his back, but a lot of that's down to driving. But Pead will be all right for Saturday and hopefully Jorge will be recharged.
"He's just exhausted. We felt he needed a rest but we're confident he'll come back fresh."
Also on the plus side, Merson had top scorer Matty Fryatt back in action after sitting out last weekend's defeat at Port Vale with an ankle problem. And he was again very encouraged with the contributions of two of his six teenagers, Ishmel Demontagnac and Simon Gillett, who both built on impressive debuts at Vale Park to catch the eye again.
Merson was also pleased with Joe Broad, who slotted back into central midfield for a surprise first start of the season after returning from a loan spell at non-League Redditch United.
"Joe's worked his socks off in training in midweek," said Merson, "which is he was why he played. That's the way it should be and, to be fair, there weren't many others to choose from who haven't already been given enough chances."
And he also remains positive about Argentinian striker Dario Larrosa, who made a lively late appearance from the bench after scoring twice for the reserves last Monday night.
"Dario's a goalscorer," said Merson.
"He makes really good runs, and people are just not finding him."