YOUNG guns Jon Worthington and Nat Brown were being put through their paces today in readiness for a return to Town action at Farsley Celtic in 24 hours time (3.00).
The duo were scheduled to play at least part of a private practice match against Sheffield Wednesday today before joining the Reserves' squad against Lee Sinnott's UniBond League First Division Celtic at Throstle Nest.
That match will mark the promotion of Academy coach John Dungworth to take charge of the Reserves this season as Town try to keep backroom costs to a minimum.
"I haven't really been able to budget for a reserve team coach, even though myself, Terry Yorath and the physio, Lee Martin, are very busy on first-team matters," said manager Peter Jackson today.
"John is an excellent, experienced coach who is impressive on the training ground and with him taking charge, it will only improve cohesion within the club because a lot of the Academy lads are going to be stepping up.
"We have already seen the benefit of the work done by John and Gerry Murphy in the Academy - just look how well David Mirfin came in against Sunderland and how well the likes of Andy Holdsworth have played - and those lads will have the further benefit of John's knowledge at Pontins League level this time after playing in the junior ranks.
"Two lads he knows a lot about, Jon Worthington and Nat Brown, will hopefully be available for him tomorrow and they will be immediately aiming to press their claims."
Worthington had surgery in the summer while Brown has been kept out of Town's three pre-season victories by a knee injury.
Jackson is also hoping striker Andy Booth can return tomorrow after a bout of illness.
Booth was also due to have a workout against his former club today and Jackson added: "Andy has been working very hard and I'm really pleased with him.
"All the lads have been working hard and doing all that I ask and Andy has lost around a stone and a half since we started our pre-season work.
"Even though we are working the lads very, very hard, they are all enjoying it and I just hope we get the benefit when we get to the big kick-off against Cambridge."
Jackson, who was able to play both Lee Fowler and Steve Yates behind closed doors today, is planning to rest goalkeeper Ian Gray until next Saturday's friendly trip to face Wrexham at the Racecourse Ground (3.00).
It means double duty for Phil Senior against Wednesday and Farsley, where admission is free for all Under 16s who are accompanied by an adult.
Jackson is still in talks with the 32-year-old Yates on a possible two-year contract to join the hoped-for McAlpine revival. He still has a year to run on his deal at Bramall Lane.
"With lads like Worthington and Brown coming back into the equation and Nathan Clarke probably only a couple of weeks away from joining in, things are looking very positive," added Jackson.
With John Thorrington (ankle) still sidelined, Jackson's likely team tomorrow is: Senior, McCombe, Holdsworth, Mirfin, Lloyd, Worthington, Scott, Ahmed, Brown, Kenworthy, Booth.