HALESOWEN Town's fight to beat the drop has been dealt a blow with the news that key man Jack Rea is likely to miss the rest of the season.

The Yeltz lost 2-1 at third-placed Stratford Town last Saturday but the defeat was compounded as the midfielder suffered ankle ligament damage.

Boss Rob Smith said: "I'll be very surprised if we see Jack before the end of the season and that is a massive blow for us.

"He has been an absolute colossus for me and he's a big loss.

"We still have people who can come in and do well in that position so we'll just have to try and make do for now.

"Callum Coyle did well when he came on, we have Joe Fitzpatrick and William Murphy and Danny Bragoli is back in training as well."

On the defeat, the manager added: "Once we got back in the game it looked like there would only be one winner.

"We started to have control of the game but then gave away another silly goal and that cost us again."

Town remain second from bottom in the Southern League Central ahead of this Saturday's visit of Rushden and Diamonds.

The boss knows just where his side need to improve.

He said: "A big factor for us is that our last three goals have been scored by defenders and that is hurting us at the moment.

"Our strikers need to start stepping up and contributing goals for the side.

"A few of those recent draws should have been wins and defeats should have been draws, but we're not scoring more than a goal a game.

"The loss of Dan Sweeney and Joel Taylor has really hit us hard at a time when we were just gathering some momentum.

"We're looking to get someone in but it's not easy. We aren't the most attractive proposition in the position we are in. The player would have to want to come and be involved in a relegation fight but would also have to be the right person for us at the right price.

"We are working harder here than anywhere we have ever been before. We'll keep trying and keep staying positive.

"We need to start winning now and probably need to win six or seven of the last 13 games."