Zac Ashworth will return to the Wanderers’ squad to give boss Ian Evatt a welcome extra selection option.
The Whites will be missing half-a-dozen senior players for Saturday’s trip to Port Vale when they will be looking move back into League One’s top six.
But Ashworth has recovered from a thigh injury he suffered on international duty with Wales’ Under-21s and the on-loan West Bromwich Albion defender will be in contention to figure for Wanderers for the first time for a month.
“He has recovered really well,” confirmed Evatt. “He’s trained very well with no adverse effect this week so he will be back involved this weekend and we need him back involved and showing everyone what he can do.
“I think he’s a talented young player who’s going to have a bright future with us.”
Ashworth provides options on the left-hand side of a defensive unit which will have Eoin Toal back from a one-game league ban but missing both skipper Ricardo Almeida Santos and vice-captain Gethin Jones.
Kyle Dempsey took the armband in the second half of last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Peterborough following the dismissal of Jones, who is now suspended for the game at Vale Park and then back-to-back home fixtures against Stevenage and Carlisle United.
Dempsey was rested for the mid-week 8-1 EFL Trophy win over Manchester United’s U21s – along with top scorer Dion Charles.
Both have benefited as they look to shake off knocks and could again be key men as a below-strength Wanderers’ squad aims to secure the three points that would lift them level with fourth-placed Vale and build further momentum going into the next international break.
“The resources are stretched but there’s nothing we can do about that. It’s almost become a bit of a siege mentality that we’ve got to use to focus our minds and motivate us,” added Evatt.
“We’re got a really small group of players at the moment that are playing flat out and we need one more week of that before the cavalry comes over the hill after the international break and we get players returning from injury.
“For now, it’s about getting three results and that starts on Saturday with Port Vale.”