DETERMINED boss Peter Jackson believes midfield superiority will be the key as Town aim to consolidate their grip on a Third Division promotion place at home to Rochdale tonight (7.45).
While most eyes will be on Pawel Abbott as the former Preston striker makes his first appearance since putting pen to paper on a three-year McAlpine contract, Jackson is equally pleased that he should be able to name an unchanged team against Steve Parkin's third-bottom side.
Jackson, whose side will be chasing a 12th win in 16 against a club who have never beaten Town in a League game, had a scare over Tony Carss yesterday, when the influential midfielder pulled up in training with pain in the hip.
Treatment seems to have done the trick, however, and the man who impressed in Saturday's 4-0 drubbing of Macclesfield should be fit to resume engine-room operations tonight.
"It's good news that Tony should be okay, because I thought the grip he, Jon Worthington and Danny Schofield exerted over Macclesfield in the second half was absolutely vital," said Jackson.
"We started a bit scrappily, but once we settled down and got that early second-half goal, there was only going to be one winner."
Rochdale's recent away record, just one point and one goal in five trips since former Barnsley boss Parkin returned for a second spell at the helm, suggests there should only be one winner tonight.
But having seen his side come unstuck at basement club Carlisle seven days ago, there will be no complacency from Jackson.
"We played out a tough 1-1 draw with them at Spotland earlier this season, and I have to say I'm surprised they are down where they are," he explained.
"Steve Parkin has some decent players to call on and, of course, they are fighting for their survival as a Football League club.
"We had them watched against Bury, and while the game finished goalless, they missed a penalty.
"Rochdale are our closest rivals in this division in terms of distance (21 miles) and they'll have a decent following tonight.
"It's important our fans are in good voice from the start, and we'll be going all out for victory.
"We've worked hard to get up to where we are in this division and it's important we keep the momentum going ahead of what will be a tough trip down to Northampton on Saturday.
"We've got 10 games to go and each one is going to be crucial."
Macclesfield manager John Askey is sweating amid reports that former Town chief Brian Horton us being lined up for a Moss Rose post.