James Hanson will be handed an opportunity to increase his match sharpness with a run-out in Tuesday night’s Checkatrade Trophy tie at Stamford Bridge.
The experienced striker (pictured) returned as a late substitute at FC Halifax on Saturday after a calf injury and the match against Chelsea’s youngsters will offer him a chance to boost his fitness ahead of an important Christmas period.
Midfielder Scott Wagstaff could also feature, along with young players including Tyler Burey, who impressed in Wimbledon’s final Checkatrade Trophy group match against Stevenage.
Interim Manager Simon Bassey said: “We were pleased to get James back on Saturday and we got 20 minutes out of him, which was good. He has trained well today and we will look to step his minutes up tomorrow. Barchy will probably not return to the group until Thursday. Scott Wagstaff is back on the scene, but he’s one that we have to keep an eye on. He is a possible for tomorrow. I thought Tyler Burey had a good game against Stevenage and he is certainly a player we really like. There will be opportunities for boys that have been in and around the squad.
“We carried a few knocks into the game at the weekend. We took 20 players to Halifax. Obviously, only 11 started, so there are nine left that are in and around the first-team squad and they can certainly come in if need be. We will count the bodies again and see where we are in terms of injuries.
“There are games to be won in this competition and big rewards at the end of them. Obviously, we have to also look at the bigger picture because we have very important League One matches coming up during the Christmas period and we need to go into them with the squad in the best possible shape.”
Simon added that he’s expecting a tough match tomorrow night against Chelsea Under-21s.
“It’s a chance to progress to the last-16, but it’s going to be a difficult game,” said Simon. “I’ve watched quite a lot of Chelsea and their Under-23s. I’ve watched them myself, and so too have our scouts. We know what strengths they have and what a good team they can be. We will just see what team they go with tomorrow and hopefully we can cause them some problems ourselves.
“We want to try and win every game that we play. There are different ways to try and win games. We will look at the squad and where we are with it. Obviously, we’ve got a huge league game on Saturday at home to Rochdale and that obviously takes priority for us this week. We will be looking to utilise the squad.”
Below is a reminder about player eligibility for EFL clubs at any stage of the Checkatrade Trophy:
• A club can play any goalkeeper in the competition;
• The revised requirement of Rule 7.3 – '4 qualifying outfield players from 10'.
A qualifying outfield player would be:
Any player that meets the current criteria (excluding goalkeepers), includes those who:
• Have started the previous or following first team fixture.
• Are in the top 10 players at the club for starting appearances in league and domestic cup competitions for the current season.
• Have made 40 or more first team appearances in their career.
• Are on loan from either a Premier League or Category 1 academy club.