With the biggest list of cripples ever, the task of selecting the Bethlehem Steel soccer lineup for the game against the New York Giants on the latter's field on New Year's Day, and again for the tilt here with Providence on Saturday, is a position confronting the management of the local clan.
The condition of the squad at this important juncture in the race is really pathetic, for inroads have not been inflicted in any one department, but have hit them all. It is the front line, however, that is probably causing most concern for here the team, in the Giant game, will miss Rollo and Goldie, the diminutive duo comprising the left wing, and little hope is entertained for their appearance against the fast-going Providence team on Saturday.
Rollo, Goldie and Granger are the invalids on the front line and while this department was regarded as being strongly reinforced with reserve talent, the list of reserves is taxed by the loss of these three players at the same time.
Whitey McDonald, right halfback, might be the player to relieve the situation. Whitey is a halfback, but with his speed and accurate shooting, the management is in hopes that he can be converted into an inside forward and may be given a chance at that position, with Forrest or Jaap on the outside for the Giants game. That would make it possible to shift Purvis, quite versatile on the forward line to inside left with Arthur Robertson at outside left. This change is contemplated on the possible acquisition of a new player whose identity has not yet been divulged, although it is understood negotiations have been under way since last Saturday.
Bob MacGregor, left halfback, is also on the injured list and could well stand a several game rest. However, under the present conditions his place in the lineup cannot be spared, and the same holds with Joe Berryman, fullback, and regarded as one of the best defenders on the Bethlehem team in years. Strange as it may seem, MacGregor and Berryman are complaining of injuries similar to those that are keeping Goldie and Rollo out of the game but not quite as serious.
In spite of the crippled condition of the team, the players are quite optimistic and in spite of the strong opposition to be met, are confident that they can stand off their rivals. Of the two games, the Providence tilt in Bethlehem looms up as the hardest and of most importance. Providence is in second place in the league standing, a position acquired by sensational campaigning.
The visit of the Fletchermen will be the second to the Bethlehem field this season, while Bethlehem has yet to make tits first journey to Providence. Originally this game was scheduled for the Rhode Island capital, but was ordered to Bethlehem. It is also of interest to local fans to recall that on the previous visit of the Fletchermen, the Steel Workers were defeated and that Providence will again invade the lair of the Steelmen with that same purpose in mind. The game will be the last home stand for the Steelmen for some time.