CHRIS BRANDON was "gutted" to be part of the Town team dumped from the Johnstone's Paint Trophy by Doncaster on Tuesday.
But one aspect of a disappointing game at the Galpharm pleased him.
"From a personal point of view, it was good to get a whole 90 minutes under my belt," said the man whose return from a long-term ankle injury was hampered by additional toe and illness problems.
Now the 30-year-old is eager to repeat the full monty in tomorrow's tough-looking League I mission to Port Vale.
Town will be reunited with former player Akpo Sodje, who made nine appearances, seven of them as a substitute, during the 2004-05 campaign.
He failed to find the net for Peter Jackson's side, but has scored four times for Vale, who signed him from Darlington in the summer.
Sodje, 26, has formed a useful partnership with Leon Constantine, the former Millwall, Brentford and Torquay striker who grabbed his ninth of the campaign when Vale won 2-1 at Tranmere seven days ago to go seventh in the table, four places and two points above Town.
The fact that Vale were in Friday night action on the Wirrall and had a bye in the first round of the JPT (they go to Scunthorpe in round two) means they will be well rested.
Town, meanwhile, will aim to use their 2-1 defeat by Doncaster as a spur to help them stretch their unbeaten league run to six and record a fourth win in that time.
"We were gutted to go out of the Trophy, especially after losing in the first round of the Carling Cup," added Brandon, who hasn't started a league game since the 2-1 Galpharm win over Bristol City in August.
"We'd got back into the game after going behind, but we got sloppy over the final stages, when it looked like it was going to go to penalties.
"We have to take a lesson from that and also regroup before tomorrow's game.
"We seem to have turned the corner in terms of league results, if not performances.
"All the lads know we can play far better, but we have to look at beating Carlisle (2-1) last Saturday when we didn't perform particularly well as a positive.
"From a personal point of view, it would be great to start a league game, and still be on at the end."