Accrington are ready to pitch in teenage goalkeeper Andrew Dawber for his first league start against City this afternoon.
The 18-year-old’s only previous full outing was in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy against Morecambe in September.
But with on-loan Leeds stopper Paul Rachubka suspended and Ian Dunbavin sidelined for the season with a shoulder injury, boss Leam Richardson has no choice but to call on the youngster.
Accrington were one of only two clubs in the division to get their home game on over the weekend. But the 1-1 draw with Plymouth came at a heavy cost, with Rachubka red-carded for brawling with Warren Feeney – just ten minutes after he had saved the Northern Irishman’s penalty.
Stanley desperately need a result from Valley Parade, where they are unbeaten in ten visits. They are currently without a win in seven games.
Former England international James Beattie netted their equaliser on Saturday, his fourth goal from five starts.
The 34-year-old striker, who has been sold for a combined £14.5million during his career, has linked up with Richardson as player/coach until next month.
Richardson hopes the deal can be extended and said: “From a personal point of view, James has come in and he’s enjoyed playing football again.
“He’s got goals – that’s what he’s got throughout his career and that’s why he wants to still play football.
“He’s fantastic with the young lads in the dressing room. All his experience and information, everything he can give to the young lads he’s doing on a regular basis.”
Richardson admits he cannot wait for the transfer window to open next week to bring in some more experienced heads.
“There are a lot of young lads here and sometimes it takes its toll,” he said.
“When you assess the season so far, when we’ve won we’ve won well. When we’ve lost we’ve lost in a sense you can tell we’re young.
“With a bit of experience, if we can get that balance and we can kick on after Christmas and get a couple of additions, we’ll be fine.”