WREXHAM midfielder Darren Ferguson looks likely to be thrown in at the deep end against Macclesfield on Saturday despite not having played a competitive game for the best part of three weeks.
The Dragons had hoped to give the playmaker a run-out in the reserves tomorrow evening but opponents Chester have withdrawn from the Avon Insurance League, leaving the Welsh club without a fixture.
Ferguson last played in the 2- 1 victory against Steaua Bucharest on August 5 and was then forced to sit out the club's opening three third division fixtures due to a suspension imposed for his post-match comments to officials at the relegation battle with Northampton Town last March.
Manager Denis Smith said he had been trying, without success so far, to arrange an alternative game.
But the Racecourse boss added that he would have no doubts about the wisdom of playing Ferguson from the start on Saturday. "He has trained very well and the season is not really up and going yet so he will very definitely come into consideration."
Paul Barrett picked up a slight thigh strain during Saturday's 1-1 draw with Boston United but Smith said he would be fit for the weekend and is hoping that striker Lee Jones will also be available.
Jones injured an ankle last week in the 1-0 win against Oxford United and was facing at least a fortnight's treatment but Smith claimed the prognosis yesterday was better. "He's got a chance of playing at Macclesfield," he said.
Shaun Pejic, Paul Whitfield and Mark Jones will spend the early past of the week at a Wales under-21 training camp in Cardiff, the final get-together for coach Jimmy Shoulder's squad before the start of their UEFA Championship qualifying campaign against Finland next month.
And Smith welcomed their inclusion. "It shows that our coaching at youth level is good and that we are teaching the kids the right things," he said. "It's nice to see that being recognised.
"I wouldn't be surprised to see Shaun Pejic, in particular, making the squad. He's done extremely well for me since we've gone with three central defenders and, while Wales might play with a flat back four, he can cope with that."
"His pace gets him by in a lot of situations and his passing is improving all the time."