BOSS Peter Jackson will treat the forthcoming blank fortnight as a `mini pre-season' as he bids to breathe new life into Town's promotion prospects.
FA Cup elimination means Jackson's team, who remain 10th in Division III after being held goalless at home to Cheltenham on Saturday, don't have another first-team match until they visit Macclesfield on Saturday, December 13.
While Darlington and Hull have brought forward games against York and Bury respectively to this Saturday, Town have elected to give their players a free weekend as part of their build-up to a busy festive schedule which includes games against current leaders Oxford (home on Saturday, December 20), Darlington (away on Boxing Day) and Bury (home on Sunday, December 28).
"It's a rare chance for the players to have a Saturday off and recharge the batteries, but they'll have earned it this week," said Jackson, who has arranged a private practice match against Grimsby for tomorrow and will field a strong side for the Reserve match at home to Walsall on Wednesday week, December 10 (2.00).
"We'll be doing some tough, physical fitness work before starting the specific build-up for the Macclesfield game."
Former club chairman Terry Fisher, back at the McAlpine for the first time since pulling out of the club takeover, was among Saturday's crowd of 8,442, Town's third lowest in the League this term but the biggest of the day in the division.
The 245 Cheltenham fans saw their side mount a successful smothering operation, although Danny Schofield twice hit the woodwork early on as Town's bid for an eighth straight home win was foiled.
"We had four glorious chances in the first half, and if we had scored one of them we would have gone on to win the game comfortably," said Jackson.
"But the tone seemed to be set when Jon Stead blazed that one over in the second minute, and it was all pretty frustrating.
"We ran out of ideas towards the end of the game, and we weren't creating as many good chances, which was a big disappointment, although it's unrealistic to think we're going to score three every home game.
"But credit Cheltenham, because they came here and made life difficult for us.
"They were quick on the break and created a few chances, so at least we had the positive of keeping a clean sheet."