Morecambe continue their Checkatrade Trophy campaign on Tuesday with manager Jim Bentley having to balance hopes of victory with his players’ needs.
The Shrimps welcome Stoke City’s youngsters to the Globe Arena, looking for victory after losing 3-2 in their opening game with Carlisle United.
However, with a League Two trip to the Cumbrians on Saturday – as well as a not inconsiderable injury list – the Shrimps’ boss may well rest and rotate where possible.
“It was a good game against Carlisle with some outstanding finishes from outside the box,” Bentley said.
“We’ve had a few injuries, we have some players coming back but we also have a few bumps and bruises from the weekend.
“We need to get minutes into players but we’re looking forward to it; we want to win it and we want to do well.”
Tuesday’s meeting will be the second time in three seasons that Morecambe will have met Stoke in the revamped competition.
Two years ago, the Shrimps were 3-1 winners in a match best remembered for some strong tackling by the visitors.
Aaron Wildig, Alex Kenyon, Ryan Edwards and Dean Winnard were all forced off on a night when goals from Jack Dunn, Cole Stockton and Peter Murphy gave Bentley’s players victory.
This time around, Kenyon, James Sinclair and Andy Fleming are all lengthy absentees, while an Achilles problem forced Steve Old out of last weekend’s 4-3 defeat against Tranmere Rovers.
That match also saw Wildig and Vadaine Oliver limp out of proceedings late on.
Consequently, it could open the door for players who have less in the way of regular game time this season such as Mark Halstead, Jason Oswell, Lamin Jagne, Kevin Ellison, Ben Hedley and Joe Piggott.
“Charlie Adam was excellent against us last time but wrote two of our players off to medium-term injuries,” Bentley recalled of their previous meeting.
“Now, I’ve never known a week like last week to lose James, Andy and Alex, who was in a demonstration to turn – not even pushing off – and did his cartilage.
“Vadaine came off on Saturday, Aaron came off with a knock and Steven Old came off with an Achilles at Cheltenham.
“I’ve got to look at what’s best for the team and the players.
“It’s hard to know what Stoke are going to be all about but it’s a game that we’re looking forward to.
“We’ll try our best to win it and hopefully go through.”