Port Vale: Mark Grew urges players to challenge for first-team places
MARK Grew has challenged Port Vale's fringe set to put themselves in the frame for the promotion run-in.
Forward Louis Dodds, midfielder Sam Morsy and striker Ben Williamson are among several members of the first-team squad set to be involved in tonight's Staffs Senior Cup semi-final at Hednesford Town (7.45pm).
And Vale's assistant boss believes it is an ideal opportunity to give the management team a selection dilemma ahead of Saturday's trip to Torquay (3pm).
Saturday's 1-0 home defeat to Morecambe was the second successive match where the Valiants had failed to score.
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And it saw them lose top spot to Gillingham, although they remain seven points clear of the play-off pack with 14 games to play.
Grew is hoping the forward-thinking players, in particular, can press their claims.
"We're sending a strong side to Hednesford and it's definitely a big opportunity for some of them," he said.
"The gaffer's said the team is not a closed shop and when you lose a game of football, you leave the door open for other people.
"There are places up for grabs and good displays tonight could put players to the front of the queue."
Defender Rob Taylor and midfield man Chris Birchall are also expected to play, while John McCombe will play his first match after a six-week lay-off.
The central defender has been out with a knee injury since New Year's Day.
"There'll be people who lose form, get suspended or injured and it's important the whole squad is fit and ready to come in," added Grew.
"This sort of game keeps them going, but it can also give us things to think about.
"John has trained for the last three or four days and he's worked hard to get back into shape.
"But he'll need to build up his match fitness."