SILSDEN boss Danny Forrest believes his team have shown they can cope without star player Joe Gaughan.

The Cobbydalers welcome fourth-placed Prestwich Heys tomorrow and will be missing him again as he continues to serve a seven-match suspension following two successive red cards.

But Forrest's side have already proven they can manage without their 28-goal striker in the short term, having beaten second-placed Litherland 2-1 last time out.

“Joe is such an influence, and not just with his goals. He’s the life and soul of the group, he gets everyone going and he’s a big influence in the way he makes things happen off the pitch,” said the manager, whose team are 15 points clear at the top of Hallmark Security League Division One.

“We’ve shown we can deal with it though by beating second in the league. It’s not ideal and we’d like to have him back in the team as soon as possible, but we’ve just got to crack on.

“The Litherland game was massive for everyone and to win in the manner we did, I felt we fully deserved it,” Forrest continued.

“It’s breathed new life into everyone and, after the week or two we had losing a couple of games, I feel the monkey is now off our backs.”

Gaughan’s suspension comes at the same time as one for Niall Sultan, as well as the departures of Mark Trueman, Nicky McNally and Aaron Davis.

But Forrest believes the signing of former Bradford City youngster Niah Payne is a big boost for the team, as they prepare to return to action after last Saturday’s clash with Abbey Hulton United was postponed.

“I always thought we’d got a strong squad that didn’t need drastic changes, but Niah gives the team that little bit of a boost for the rest of the season.

“He came highly rated by Lee Elam, who used to coach him in the academy at Bradford, and he played well against Litherland in that win.

“We’d liked to have played again last Saturday but we had a good training session on Monday, another on Wednesday and we’ll be ready for tomorrow regardless.”