THERE is never a good time for a Junior team manager to be missing key players, but it is especially bad when the dressing room becomes more and more depleted in the days leading up to the biggest game in your club’s season.

The stakes don’t come much higher than a place in the Macron Scottish Junior Cup final - particularly when you have unfinished business after being runners-up last year - but this is the situation facing Hurlford United boss Darren Henderson ahead of tomorrow’s Macron semi-final second leg encounter against Largs Thistle.

Henderson was already resigned to being without long-term injured Jack Whittaker and ball-winning stopper Kris Robertson. But his planned team sheet is now also missing the injured quartet of Ross Robertson, David Barron, Liam Caddis and Calum Watt on top of red tape depriving him of the services of winger Jamie Hilton.

Outwardly at least, Henderson is making light of his woes and looking forward to yet another Blair Park showdown after the 2-2 draw last weekend.

“You will not hear me mention players that are posted missing whether we win, lose or draw tomorrow," he said. “The job in hand certainly becomes more difficult but it is what it is, and we will have a team on the pitch and playing at home in front of our own supporters where our form has been very good.

"It’s when you have issues like this that you just wish the guys could have been more clinical at 2-1 ahead last week because to my mind Largs were on the ropes and we made the mistake of letting them escape.

“Hopefully we can do better and the omens are good as we’ve been here before in must-win Cup semi-finals against both Irvine Meadow and Wishaw yet the very fact our players have been over the course and distance previously, will not prevent the nerves from jangling ahead of kick-off.

“The team that settles first invariably comes good and there’s no doubt the first goal is going to be very important.

"After the final whistle last week, I wanted the second-leg game on Sunday but right now I wish it was next week when we will be much stronger in terms of personnel.”

Playing tomorrow: (ko: 2pm unless stated) Macron Scottish Junior Cup, semi-finals, second legs (2.30pm): Hurlford Utd v Largs Thistle, Auchinleck Talbot v Lochee Utd. Premiership: Troon v Cumnock, Cambuslang Rangers v Kilwinning Rangers, Beith v Glenafton, Rob Roy v Pollok. Championship: Larkhall Thistle v St Rochs, Neilston v Cumbernauld Utd, Benburb v Girvan, Rossvale v Darvel, Craigmark v Arthurlie, Kello Rovers v Rutherglen Glencairn. League One: Ardrossan Winton Rovers v Bellshill Athletic, Blantyre Vics v Lugar Boswell, Wishaw v Shettleston, East Kilbride Thistle v Greenock, Maryhill v Glasgow Perthshire, Yoker Athletic v Gartcairn, Shotts Bon Accord v Royal Albert. League Two: Newmains Utd v Lesmahagow, Vale of Clyde v St Anthonys, Thorniewood Utd v Carluke Rovers, Johnstone Burgh v Vale of Leven, Lanark Utd v Muirkirk, Forth Wanderers v Ashfield.