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Bishop's Stortford defender Archie Edwards to miss FA Trophy tie against Leiston and could be out for a minimum of three months with torn hamstring

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Steve Smith will have to solve a defensive conundrum ahead of in-form Bishop's Stortford's home Buildbase FA Trophy tie against Leiston on Saturday (Nov 27).

The manager saw left-back Archie Edwards go off with a torn hamstring towards the end of their 3-1 win over Wingate & Finchley at the weekend and he could face at least three months on the sidelines.

Smith said he was "gutted" about the defender's injury and he may need to go into the transfer market as he does not have a natural replacement.

The Blues go into the second-round Trophy tie on a real high as the victory over Wingate – which came after a 2-1 triumph over second-placed Enfield Town last Tuesday (Nov 16) – extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 10 games and took them up to fourth in the Pitching In Isthmian League, Premier Division.

Substitute Frankie Merrifield scored twice in as many minutes against Wingate after coming off the bench for his first appearance since suffering a shoulder injury against Corinthian-Casuals on October 26, with Darren Foxley getting the other goal.

"It was a brilliant game against Enfield, scoring in the 96th minute to win it," said Smith. "The boys were brilliant.

"Saturday wasn't easy as I thought Wingate weren't bad and they had a guy up front who caused us a few problems, but we ground it out.

"The boys are feeling confident and we're playing well, so long may it continue.

"It was good for Frankie coming off the bench and scoring two. It was great for him and great for us, so I was well pleased."

Trophy opponents Leiston sit fifth in the Southern League Premier Central with 10 wins from 18 games. They have scored 33 goals and conceded 30.

Southend United loanee Jimmy Wallace joins Edwards on the Blues' injury list after spraining his ankle, but they will have forward Chris Harris back from suspension.

"Leiston are a good side and it will be a difficult game as they're fifth in their league," said Smith, whose team are due to visit Merstham in the league next Tuesday (Nov 30).

"We can definitely progress if we perform, but they'll be thinking the same thing."

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