Dave Challinor admits he has to weigh up the risk factor in selecting his AFC Fylde team to face Nuneaton tomorrow, with several players recovering from injury.
The unbeaten Vanarama National North leaders have “a few niggles” going into their first home match for three weeks.
Dan Bradley, Caspar Hughes and Brendon Daniels all missed last weekend’s 3-3 draw at Kidderminster and Challinor admits he has to give careful thought before recalling them.
The Fylde manager told The Gazette: “You have to think in the long-term interests of the club when you make these decisions.
“The last thing you want to do is to take a risk on players’ fitness with the season only a third of the way through.
“It’s a question of coping in the short-term with players out. And when you look where we are in the table, you have to say we’ve been coping OK.
“And the position we are in is all the more pleasing when you consider there’s a lot more to come from us. We can improve and you definitely haven’t seen the best of us yet.”
The lack of a midweek match has eased the task of nursing players back to full fitness and has enabled Challinor to get through plenty of training-ground work.
And it’s in such weeks that the benefits of going full-time re most clearly seen. Challinor explained: “We’re able to have video sessions now, which give the players a chance to see for themselves what they need to work on.”
What will have been obvious from the video of last weekend’s six-goal thriller is that Fylde carry a major goal threat at one end of the field but remain prone to conceding at the other.
Challinor added: “Because of the way we play we are open at times. But a lot of the goals we’ve conceded have been sloppy and come down to individual errors, so it’s about working on concentration and doing your job for 90 minutes.
“But we’ve stressed that defensive play is collective – it isn’t just the responsibility of the back four and keeper.”
Challinor has stressed the need for others to share the goalscoring burden with 19-goal Danny Rowe.
James Hardy chipped in with two at the Harriers and Challinor added: “In my five years here we haven’t had a 40-goal man. Each season we’ve had four or five getting into double-figures and I think that will be the same again.
“I’m happy we have goals all over the park, and we have Dan and Brendon still to come back. But if Danny carries on scoring at the rate he is, I won’t be complaining.”
Opponents Nuneaton have been boosted by the loan signing of Blackpool’s teenage left-back Luke Higham.
Challinor said: “They are full-time too and I know Kevin (Wilson, manager) well. I know what they are capable of.”