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Teens In Line For Trophy Time

Youngsters set to be involved against Fleetwood as Evatt plans changes for knock-out tie

29 November 2021

Ian Evatt is set to give youth its chance as Wanderers aim to keep progressing in the Papa John’s Trophy.

Wanderers face League One Fleetwood Town in a last-32 tie on Tuesday night (KO 7pm) as the competition enters its knock-out phase.

Evatt’s men topped their qualifying group with a 100 per cent record to earn a home fixture against the Cod Army who qualified with two wins out of three.

The Whites are unbeaten in their last five home fixtures in all competitions after twice fighting back to draw 2-2 with Cheltenham Town on Saturday.

But Evatt won’t ask the same players to go again as he dips into the youth squad to freshen up his injury-hit side, which then gets a breather at the weekend before again facing Fleetwood in a league fixture in a week’s time.

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“We’re going to have to make changes. People need a rest,” said the Wanderers’ boss.

“Some of them we will have to pull the reins in a little bit.

“We want to win and we want to progress but we also want to keep a squad available to select 11 for a league fixture and at the moment we’re down to the bare bones.

“We’ve still got seven games before New Year’s Day, so we need to make sure we keep the ones we’ve got available fit and in one piece.”

Teenagers Mitchell Henry and Arran Pettifer both figured as substitutes in the group games of the Trophy, with wingman Henry coming on in all three fixtures.

The pair were also on the bench for last Saturday’s game against Cheltenham, alongside youth team colleagues Max Conway and Matthew Tweedley who may be included again with teams permitted to use five substitutes from the seven named from this stage of the competition onwards.

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“Some of the kids will be involved and hopefully they can step up to the plate and do us proud,” added Evatt, who is currently without half-a-dozen of his regular starters but will have top scorer Dapo Afolayan available again after suspension.

“The lads have been training well with us. They are enjoying it, they are learning all the time so hopefully they can step up to the plate.

“We’re going to have to make changes just to keep people in one piece but aside from that, every team we put out we will try and win the game and thankfully we’ve got a week’s break after this until the next league fixture.

“We will go into it full of positive energy and try and get the lads going again after a difficult physical month.”

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