Crawley are still sweating on the availability of loan trio Nicky Ajose, Jonathan Forte and Nathan Byrne for their FA Cup clash at Met Police on Saturday.

Reds enquired about whether their parent clubs would allow them to play in the first round tie last week but have not received definitive answers yet.

Peterborough have responded regarding Ajose but Crawley are seeking further clarification over the striker, although it looks unlikely he will be available. Tottenham and Southampton are yet to even reply to Crawley’s request for permission to play Byrne and Forte respectively.

Reds would be left with just two available strikers – three if you include the out-of-favour John Akinde – if they are not given permission to play Ajose and Forte and boss Barker is keen to know one way or the other.

Barker said: “We have been calling their clubs for quite a while but we are not getting an answer. I would rather them come back with a negative answer than not knowing at all.

“We are going to need to hear something in the next day or so as we need to start putting plans in place for the game.”

Barker has been boosted by the return to full training of Shaun Cooper and Joe Walsh, although Cooper will not be fit in time for the trip to Imber Court having been sidelined by a groin injury six weeks ago.

The Reds boss also confirmed the club would not be appealing against Hope Akpan’s red card during the 1-1 draw with Oldham Athletic on Saturday despite replays showing the decision was harsh.

Barker added: “It would be hard to get it overturned as predominantly it only happens in cases of mistaken identity or a clear mistake by the referee. We are already going to lose Hope for four matches and if we try to fight that could go up to five or six.”