STAGS’ penultimate pre-season friendly at Ilkeston FC tonight (Wednesday, 7.45pm) will give manager Paul Cox his last chance to experiment with his squad.
Cox, who is hoping to use the final friendly at Chasetown on Saturday to try to pick a first XI to kick off the season, will make sure players short on match action play some part tonight.
But he may also throw in one or two youth team members who impressed him in a behind-closed-doors inter-squad game at Rainworth MW last week.
“I need to make sure every member of my squad is ready for that first game of the season,” said Cox.
“If we had a few injuries and an illness bug like we had last week, I need to know where everyone can fill in and what the can do. I need to have a Plan B and also some pressure on the lads who do start the season.
“I have players like Richie Sutton, Matt Bell, and Luke O’Neill who need a game and Lindon Meikle should also be available again after injury and Adam Smith from illness.
“Jon Worthington should also be okay but I may not risk him. John Thompson might need a half too.
“Kevin (Ilkeston boss Wilson) will always play a side that is competitive, especially with the local rivalry.
“They have just drawn with a full strength Alfreton.”
He added: “After this we need to pick a team for Saturday along with a system and a shape for what I think will be a very tasty game.
“I think we have looked comfortable with 4-4-2 so far though have used 4-4-3 as well which is a system many clubs use in our division which is good when you’ve got the ball and excellent when you haven’t.”
Full post-match report at www.chad.co.uk.