TOWN are giving a trial to Middlesbrough keeper Sam Russell.
The 21-year-old trained at Storthes Hall today and will play in the Reserves against Preston at Bamber Bridge tomorrow (7.00).
If all goes well, he could be signed on loan for the bench against Torquay at Plainmoor on Saturday as Ian Gray is still struggling to overcome the hand injury he suffered in the FA Cup.
Manager Peter Jackson will stick with Phil Senior in the starting line-up despite his mistake for the second goal in the 2-0 home defeat by Darlington which ended a six-match winning run.
Russell and Senior were best mates at the National Soccer School at Lilleshall and the Middlesbrough-born player comes to Town with the benefit of League experience this season - 12 matches for Scunthorpe including the 6-2 win against Jackson's men at Glanford Park in November.
"We are concerned that Ian Gray is still feeling the effects of his injury and we are awaiting the latest report from his specialist, so some cover could be necessary," revealed Jackson today.
"Sam has played a dozen games with Scunthorpe this season and I've also seen him in Reserve games, so he is well worth having a look at.
"Middlesbrough have already said they are likely to release him at the end of the season, so he is keen to play and do well and he is coming to us with a view to signing a loan deal."
Jackson has still had no luck in his search for a striker, although Andy Booth was being put through his paces in training today with the intention of returning in the Reserves tomorrow. Town will also have Paul Scott back from injury and Tony Carss playing a full 90 minutes after his impressive substitute appearance against Darlington.
"We still need to know for sure that Andy Booth is absolutely right, because there is no point taking him down to Torquay and having him break down after 20 minutes," said the manager.
"He is going to have a good test today and then we'll see how he reacts. If he's okay then he'll play at least a part of the Reserve game."
If fit, Booth is all set to partner John Thorrington in attack tomorrow.
Seat tickets remain on sale at the McAlpine for the Torquay match (it's pay at the gate for the terrace). Seat prices are £12 for adults, £9 seniors and £5 juniors. On the terrace, it's £11 adults, £8 seniors and £5 juniors.
Town Reserves - Russell, Thompson, Scott, Mirfin, Edwards, Mattis, Holland, Carss, Ahmed, Booth, Thorrington. Subs: from the Academy.