Mansfield Town’s walking wounded head to Stevenage on Saturday (3pm) with manager Paul Cox waiting anxiously on the fitness of three or four players.
Midfielder Fergus Bell is already a major doubt with several others feeling the strain after soldiering on with knocks in the last couple of games.
“We have a few knocks, but I want to give everyone the chance to make Saturday,” said Cox.
“Fergus has a damaged shoulder from the Morecambe game and he is struggling with that at the moment.
“He had a scan on it and there is a bit of damage in there. He played on Saturday with a pain-killing injection in it. We had one or two on Saturday playing through the pain barrier. They are going above and beyond what is expected.
“I have given them a couple of days off this week to recuperate. You saw on Saturday that two or three players were on their knees. There are players I would like to give a rest to for different reasons but we can’t so we have to stay as we are.”
He added: “I want to give my players credit. When you see what other clubs are working with on a day-to-day basis, it can be hard. I am glad the majority of our supporters are getting behind us.
“It will be really tough on Saturday. Stevenage always work hard, are fit, strong, structured and organised. They are a League One side just relegated.”
Cox continues to look at possible new signings to bolster his ailing squad, but admitted the current situation may mean he has to draft a youth team player or two into the squad.
In midweek he took a look at 18-year-old ex-Bolton defender Jordan Hendrie in the reserve game at Scunthorpe. The match also saw John Dempster begin his comeback from injury with just over a half of football.
“It was a good run-out and a really competitive game,” said Cox. “A number of players got 45-90 minutes and we had a look at a trialist.
“Most impressive for me was two or three of the kids playing, who all looked excellent for their ages. They really are forcing the issue with me because of our numbers and could be involved in the first team squad.
“On Jordan Hendrie, I need to talk to the people who made me aware of him. But the kid did himself no harm whatsoever.”