Steve Evans believes three of the starting places at Crewe on Saturday are still up for grabs in training this week.
The Mansfield Town manager and assistant Paul Raynor have settled on about eight of the side to start the new season at Gresty Road.
But, with no more friendlies and a talented squad fighting neck and neck to play, the door has been shut on no one as yet.
“I’d be lying to our supporters if I didn’t say I think we’re almost there now,” said Evans.
“Myself and Paul Raynor probably have the same eight players on a piece of paper that we are thinking of neutrally.
“Two other members of staff, not expecting the question, got the question and seven or eight of them were named again.
“So there are probably eight with competition still for the other two or three, but I won’t be frightened to change it if people let down their standards later in the week as we need to be really ready for Crewe.”
Evans added: “If we get a point, it’s a good start. If we get three it’s a great start.
“It’s the nature of the league. You have to try as best you can to get something on the road and normally you would say you win your games at home and you win promotion.
“So from our point of view we are going to go there and try to get our first clean sheet. If we get that it means we have at least got a point – that’s the first benchmark.”