LEE CLARK says being able to cancel Town’s behind-closed-doors game against Manchester City is further vindication of his decision to withdraw from competitive reserve football.
The boss had fixed up yesterday’s game at the Premier League club’s training ground to provide a work-out for left-back Liam Ridehalgh, who is back after glandular fever.
But the Galpharm club’s injury woes – topped by Anthony Pilkington’s left leg break and ankle dislocation – led to the plug being pulled.
Clark also has Antony Kay, who damaged his left ankle during Tuesday’s 2-1 win over Rochdale, Gary Naysmith (calf) and keeper Ian Bennett (groin) on the injured list.
Top scorer Jordan Rhodes, who took a kick during the Dale derby, and Joey Gudjonsson (hamstring) should both be available at Bristol Rovers on Saturday.
But Clark, who still has Lee Peltier suspended (for a further three games) was unwilling to take any risks.
“We’re pretty much down to the bare bones, so there was no point in going ahead with the Manchester game,” he explained.
“One of the additional advantages of fixing up friendlies is that you have flexibility over when and if they take place.
“Had it been a reserve league game, I don’t think we’d have had the option, and we’d have been scouting around to pull players in.”
Clark was concerned that too many clubs were fielding young and inexperienced players in totesport.com League games last season.
This term, Town have had behind-closed-doors games against the likes of Liverpool, Everton, Doncaster and Hull, and the boss believes they have proved far more beneficial.
Clark, meanwhile, has hailed the reaction of Rochdale’s players, staff and fans to Pilkington’s injury plight.
“Their lads did everything they could to help, and the rousing ovation given by their supporters as Anthony was carried off was heartening,” he said.