FRANK SINCLAIR, Luke Beckett, Malvin Kamara and Joe Skarz will go into second-string action at the Galpharm tonight with points to prove.
All four are in the Town Reserves squad for the Pontin’s Holidays Central Division fixture with Nottingham Forest (7.00).
The quartet are chasing a League I chance at Port Vale on Saturday after missing the cut when Gerry Murphy made the first selection of his second spell as caretaker manager.
And only Skarz came off the bench, replacing left-back Robbie Williams during the 2-2 home draw with Doncaster.
Some might see reserve football as a comedown for the likes of former Chelsea star Sinclair and Town’s 12-goal top scorer Beckett.
But Murphy believes the pair will see tonight as an opportunity to change his thinking ahead of a first-team match which could all but relegate Port Vale.
“It’s a chance to both maintain sharpness and catch the eye ahead of Saturday,” said Murphy, who has handed responsibility for the reserves to Martyn Booty in the wake of John Dungworth’s departure last week.
Sinclair, who had been playing at right-back for the first team, is set to operate alongside Tom Clarke in central defence against Forest reserves.
Kamara will take his usual right-sided midfield slot with Danny Schofield, who failed to make the 16 against Doncaster, on the left.
Murphy is also looking for a big performance from teenager Lucas Akins, who will play alongside Beckett up front.
The 19-year-old was handed his first-team debut by former manager Andy Ritchie in the 1-1 draw at Northampton in the penultimate match of last season.
He also came off the bench in the final game, the 4-2 home win over Leyton Orient, and in the early stages of this season, played as a substitute in the 1-0 opening-day home win over Yeovil, the 2-0 home defeat by Carlisle, the 4-1 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy loss at Grimsby and the 4-0 drubbing at Walsall.
It was hoped a loan stint at Blue Square (Conference) club Northwich Victoria, where he made 10 appearances earlier this year, would catapult him back into contention at Town, but it seems he still has something to prove.
“There is certainly potential in Lucas, but he still needs to make the next step,” said Murphy.