WREXHAM are likely to be without four first-team players for tonight's Racecourse friendly against Romanian side Steaua Bucharest (7.30pm).
Dan Bennett, Hector Sam, Steve Thomas and Steve Roberts all missed yesterday's public training session staged as part of the club's open day for supporters and manager Denis Smith will be keeping his fingers crossed that the quartet can recover between now and Saturday's third division opener at Scunthorpe United.
But Bennett, who had just recovered from a swollen knee, collected an ankle injury against Everton on Saturday and has suspected ligament damage that might sideline him for a couple of weeks.
Sam, with a slight hamstring strain, bruised knee victim Roberts and Thomas, who has flu-like symptoms, are less of a worry for the Dragons' boss, who believes his players will have improved their football education as a result of the 2-0 defeat inflicted on them by the Premiership outfit.
Although there was little to choose between the teams in the opening period, the Goodison Park side demonstrated their superior skill and knowledge after the break but the Dragons boss was not too disappointed by the outcome.
"We could play non-League sides and win but by playing a Premiership side the lads know they have got to sharpen up a little bit, even if it's only jumping with their elbows up to make sure they clatter someone instead of getting clattered themselves," he said. "In the first half we played quite well but in the second half after they scored their second goal you couldn't really see us getting back into it."
Smith started the game with three strikers, something that would not have been countenanced had there been more riding on the result, but said: "I've got to work on things that I want from my team and some of them worked quite well in the first half.
"I thought Paul Edwards got the crowd on his side a couple of times in the first half and Lee Jones looked sharp. I think he'll score goals at our level and you could see that in his play."
Smith admitted that the absence of an experienced head in midfield had proved costly but revealed that assistant manager Kevin Russell had been struggling to play, although he is likely to face Steaua Bucharest this evening.
Striker Andy Morrell, who returned from injury to play the full 90 minutes, said it had been a learning experience.
"It was good to play against Premiership opposition and they possibly gave us a bit of a lesson in the second half in terms of keeping the ball," he said.