Preston North End boss Simon Grayson has urged his out-of-favour stars to remain patient.
The PNE manager has had to disappoint several members of his first-team squad as he formulated a team to tackle the opening couple of games of the season.
With such a big and talented pool of players at his disposal, Grayson has been forced into leaving a number of established first-teamers on the sidelines.
Club captain John Welsh and utility man Jack King have both been left kicking their heels on the substitutes’ bench in the first week of the season.
And players such as Scott Laird, David Buchanan and Keith Keane were left out of the matchday squad altogether for the season’s opener against Notts County on Saturday and the Capital One Cup win over Rochdale in midweek.
In a bid to give some of his squad some much-needed match time, Grayson arranged a behind-closed-doors friendly against Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday.
The match ended goalless, and Grayson reassured those players on the periphery during the opening week of the campaign, that they will at some point in the future get their chance.
“None of those players have been banging on my door this week,” said Grayson, who is preparing his team to face Scunthorpe United today at Glanford Park.
“I think it’s a little too early for that. They will all be disappointed that they are not in the team.
“But it’s part and parcel of football – we all know that at some point they will get an opportunity.
“They all know that I am picking the team for the right reasons. Yes of course they are going to be disappointed – I wouldn’t expect it to be any other way.
“But they are all still getting their opportunity to contribute in training and once they do get that shirt, it’s up to them to try to keep it.
“They all played against Blackburn and it was a very good workout for us.
“It was 0-0 but we had some really good chances against a young Blackburn team but the players got a lot out of it and it served a real positive purpose.”
The match against Blackburn also signalled the long-awaited return to action of flying winger Kyel Reid.
The summer recruit from Bradford City has not played since snapping his cruciate knee ligament while playing for the Bantams against Sheffield United in January.
The 26-year-old has been back training for the past few weeks and earlier this week received the green light to resume playing.
Reid came on for a brief cameo in the final 15 minutes against Rovers and will now be targeting his PNE debut in the coming weeks.
“It was real positive news for Kyel to play a few minutes,” Grayson said. “He’s joined in with training with us the last 10 days or so but it’s only been non-contact.
“But he got the all-clear from the surgeon on Monday afternoon – hence why he was able to play the 15 minutes.
“He will build up over the next few weeks towards a return, which is obviously very pleasing.”