MANAGER Peter Jackson will take every fit player to Macclesfield tomorrow (3.00) after suffering two injury setbacks on the eve of the vital Third Division match.
Versatile left-sided midfield player Tony Carss is out of 10th-placed Town's first-ever meeting with the 20th-placed Cheshire club because of knee and ankle problems.
And goalkeeper Ian Gray was back at the specialist today for an exploratory finger operation.
While Gray's broken hand has healed, he is still suffering pain from one of two dislocations he suffered in the same incident against Accrington Stanley in the FA Cup first round.
The 28-year-old wouldn't have been in the frame for Moss Rose, where Phil Senior will make a fourth successive start and Lee Martin, a former Macclesfield stopper, will be on the bench.
But Jackson had hoped he would be fit for a festive schedule which starts at home to current divisional leaders Oxford a week tomorrow, and if the news on the finger is bad, he could go into the loan market for back-up.
"It could be two weeks, or it could be two months, we'll just have to see, " said Jackson.
"It's a blow, especially when you consider the actual fracture has healed nicely.
"Phil Senior has been doing a great job, but Lee Martin admits he's not the ideal back-up, and it could be we bring in cover for what will be a crucial period of games over Christmas."
First priority, of course, will be Macclesfield, where Town will chase only a second League away win of the season without Carss and Ian Hughes (knee), who both picked up their injuries in the goalless draw at home to Cheltenham last time out.
Town have had a fortnight free since then, enabling captain and left-back Rob Edwards to stake a claim for a return to the starting side after a hamstring injury.
Jackson will choose between Efe Sodje, a former Macclesfield player, and Steve Yates to replace centre-back Hughes, while experienced Chris Holland or youngster Andy Holdsworth could replace Carss.
Macclesfield have lost only once in four League games since John Askey stepped up from coach to replace sacked boss David Moss, the former Town assistant manager.
But Askey was unhappy with last week's 1-1 Cup draw at home to Cambridge, when Steve Wilson saved two penalties.
He has threatened to change his defence by bringing in Steve Hitchen, who impressed as a substitute, and new signing Matt Carragher, the brother of Liverpool star Jamie who was cup-tied, having already played in the competition for Stafford.
"John might have had a go at them, but he's got his team playing good football and we'll have to be alert," said Jackson.
"It's vital we overcome our away-game problems because a win tomorrow would provide the ideal springboard for the big Christmas games coming up."
While only a handful of stand tickets were left at the McAlpine today, Town fans can pay on the day for the terracing.
Macclesfield (from): Wilson, Adams, Munroe, Welch, Abbey, Carragher, Hitchen, Whitaker, Priest, Widdrington, Little, Carruthers, Tipton, Deasy, Miles, Haddrell, Brackenbridge.
Town (from): Senior, Edwards, Lloyd, Brown, Booty, Clarke, Yates, Sodje, Scott, Fowler, Holland, Schofield, Stead, Booth, Mattis, Holdsworth, Ahmed, Thompson, Onibuje, Martin.
Referee: Mick Thorpe (Suffolk).