OPPORTUNITY will knock for David Mirfin and possibly John McAliskey when Town aim to get their Third Division promotion push back on track against struggling Macclesfield at the McAlpine tomorrow (3.00).
Central defender Mirfin, 18, is a definite starter in place of hamstring injury victim Steve Yates as Peter Jackson's side aim to add to second- bottom Macclesfield's misery after a run of just two points from 24 in a match sponsored by the Examiner.
And striker McAliskey, 19, has been named in a 17-man squad which also includes versatile Paul Scott, who has not figured for 12 games after an ankle operation.
Former Colne Valley High School pupil McAliskey, who stretches the tape to 6ft 3in, gets his chance after a bright display for the Reserves in Wednesday's match at Hull.
"He was lively against two experienced centre-backs in John Anderson and Justin Whittle," said Jackson, who is desperate to atone for Tuesday's 1-0 loss at Carlisle.
"John has been showing bright form for a while and deserves this chance.
"I've yet to decide on the exact make-up of the matchday 16.
"But even if he doesn't make it, going through the training-ground preparation and being part of the build-up will be a great learning experience for him."
Sheffield-born Mirfin, who made his debut on the final day of last season, has made 12 appearances this time around, the last as a substitute for Yates at Carlisle, where Peter Duffield's goal prevented Town from reaching the top-three automatic promotion zone.
"Dave did well on Tuesday and is a great prospect for this club," said Jackson, himself an ex-centre-back.
"This is a great opportunity, because with Steve Yates and Ian Hughes both sidelined, Dave has the chance to come in and establish himself as a first choice."
Jackson wants his side to do more attacking than defending, but having seen the way basement side Carlisle scrapped for the points, won't take anything for granted.
"We owe them one from that 4-0 defeat over there in December, but we'll have to work hard," he added.
"To be fair, the lads have been doing that and that's a big part of why we're right up there pushing for automatic promotion.
"We have two home games in quick succession (third-bottom Rochdale visit on Tuesday) and I haven't had to tell the lads how crucial it is that we bag all three points."
Jackson remains in talks with Preston over a permanent deal for Pavel Abbott, whose initial month's loan ends with tomorrow's game.
He and Macclesfield old boy Efe Sodje are both in the Third Division team of the week.
Winger John Thorrington has, as expected, joined Second Division Grimsby on a free transfer.
Town (from): Rachubka, Holdsworth, Lloyd, Mirfin, Clarke, Sodje, Worthington, Carss, Booth, Abbott, Schofield, Edwards, Fowler, Newby, Scott, McAliskey, Senior.
Macclesfield (from): Wilson, Potter, Harsley, Tipton, Widdrington, Whitaker, Abbey, Little, Payne, Parkin, Miskelly, Smith, Miles, Carruthers, Welch, Abbey, Priest, Carragher.
Referee: Graham Laws (Tyne & Wear).