KEEPER Paul Rachubka says the big League kick-off at Nottingham Forest is now coming firmly into focus for Town.
The 24-year-old ex-Charlton stopper is a certain starter at the City Ground on Saturday week and believes the next 11 days will enable Peter Jackson's squad to get fully prepared.
Next step is tonight's friendly against Wakefield & Emley at Belle Vue (7.30), when Jackson includes Rachubka because Phil Senior is suffering an injury.
"We have worked tremendously hard so far and now we are really starting to plan for the season," explained Rachubka today.
"The first few weeks have been about getting ourselves fit and now it's about getting things together and really pushing on.
"We can see Forest in our minds already, and our team will now start to really take shape with everyone competing extremely hard.
"Hopefully, that competition will take us to the next level and we will be able to show the value of the work we've done in pre-season when it comes to that first match down at Forest."
Rachubka played in Friday's 2-1 friendly victory against Mansfield at Field Mill, when Andy Booth and Junior Mendes scored either side of a Simon Brown striker for Carlton Palmer's League II side.
"We made life hard for ourselves on Friday by not starting as brightly as we had done in the previous games and, because we didn't have the tempo, it dragged us down a bit," he added.
"The lads know we can play a lot better, though, and everyone in the squad has just got to aim to up it a little bit."
Nathan Clarke (thigh strain) is not included tonight or against AFC Emley at the Welfare Ground on Thursday (7.00).
Manager Jackson - who has Clarke in mind to return against Rochdale on Saturday (3.00) - said today:
"I've got a squad of 25 and they will all be used during the next three games.
"Everyone is battling for places against Forest."
Town - Rachubka, Hardy, Lloyd, McCombe, Adams, Mendes, Collins, Ahmed, Schofield, McAliskey, Taylor-Fletcher. Subs: Fowler, Young.