Yeovil Town Reserves take on Cheltenham Town at Whaddon Road later today with a 2.00pm kick-off planned.
The Glovers are hoping to field midfielder Marc Bircham and right-winger Marvin Williams in their first games following long term injuries. Manager Russell Slade told the Western Daily Press that he was impressed with the players attitudes whilst they were out injured:
"It'll be a huge boost to have the two of them back. They've both been back training and I hope they'll play against Cheltenham. Throughout the time they've been injured Birch and Marvin have shown real enthusiasm to get back playing as quickly as possible and have remained positive. Birch has had a couple of setbacks but it looks like he's over them now and his experience will be a real bonus when he's ready for first-team action. Marvin's actually recovered from his operation ahead of schedule which is great and he gives us a different option with his pace. They've both been out for quite a long time though, so they will need two or three games to get their match fitness back."
The hope is that the pair will become available for first team selection at the tail end of the Christmas fixture schedule, which could be the ideal point if any knocks or suspensions are picked up during the festive period.
However, the WDP report that defender Matthew Rose is still struggling with an elbow injury and may not feature in this weekend's game at Leyton Orient. This afternoon's match in Gloucestershire is therefore likely to feature Darryl Knights, Tom Clarke, Scott Spencer, Jerahl Hughes, Craig Alcock and Mark Lynch. Of Lynch, Slade told the Western Morning News:
"The reserves are there for your players coming back from injury or players that have lost a bit of form and maybe Mark Lynch falls into that category. It is a vehicle also to have a look at players like the boy [Scott] Spencer we have taken from Everton, so it provides opportunities for a lot of reasons and why it is so important. Tom Clarke is up (out of contract) over the Christmas period, he did quite well in the (last) week (against Forest Green) and we will have a look at him in one more game before we make a decision."
Having seen Scott Spencer play for the Reserves and knowing of his pedigree that took him from Oldham Athletic to Everton, Slade believes his career needs a kick-start, feeling that Spencer has lost his way whilst at Goodison Park:
"He's greatly talented and was highly valued at the age of 15 and 16, but he has lost his way. A lack of opportunities is probably responsible for that and it's not uncommon with young players at big football clubs. It would take a little bit of time, he is not a "now" situation player, he is very much one for the future, but you have to do some real work with him and have him in and around the first team where he is improving and doing the right things day in day out to make his football more mature. We will just have to wait and see and make a decision on that one, but he has something, that's for sure. He wouldn't be at Everton if he didn't, but he needs the right place to rediscover his talent."
For Cheltenham, they are selecting a largely unknown side, with the speed of former Glovers trialist Sosthene Yao up front and former Bristol City midfielder Scott Brown due to start as a left-winger as he makes his comeback from a broken leg. Former Watford midfielder Ben Gill will take up an unfamiliar role in the centre of defence, to cover an inbalance of numbers. Cheltenham's official site has released their squad as follows:
Brown (Gk), Gallinagh, B.Gill, Biggs, Walsh, D'Agostino, Connolly, Foley, Brown, Reid, Yao. Puddy (Gk), Lewis, Taylor, Fathers, Maynard.
Entry to the game is via the turnstiles in the main car park with adults admitted for £2.00 whilst Under 16s get in for free. Block 1 of the Stagecoach West Stand plus the Paddock and Cantee terraces will be open for the game.
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