IAN Evatt insists there is still time to change his mind on the starting line-up against Forest Green this weekend.

Preparing to make several changes for tonight’s EFL Trophy game against Crewe, the Wanderers head coach says some of his supposed fringe players could yet force their way into the League Two curtain raiser.

Evatt knows he will have to use a small squad carefully this season to negotiate a congested fixture list in league and cup.

And he concedes that keeping those on the periphery happy will be one of his biggest challenges in the coming months.

“No team should be set in stone,” he said. “I’ve said before that we’ll have to go horses for courses when different oppositions throw different looks at you. It’s my job to analyse that and find the best team to win the game.

“And that might not necessarily be the starting 11. Provided we control possession, as we did Saturday, but keep the back door shut, it might be that we have to wear teams down, tire them out, and then bring on someone to win us the game. It might be that way.

“The most important people in any club are the ones out of the team. The starting 11 are happy but it’s keeping the ones who are on the bench or not involved on board, keeping them fighting for the same cause and pushing the lads in the team.”

Evatt believes those players who have not featured in his starting line-up of late must see it as a challenge and not a slight.

The head coach says his selection decisions to date have been based on training ground performances but tonight’s game against League One Crewe could be an opportunity to catch the eye for some in a competitive environment.

“We’re still new to all this,” he said. “I am learning about them, they are learning about me. But they have to get in the manager’s eye.

“Players, footballers, are very good at making excuses. I was one for 21 years.

“If you are not in the team it’s everyone’s fault – the missus, the nan, the cat, the dog. They blame everyone but themselves.

“But at the end of the day if they are not being picked on a Saturday it is because of something they have not been doing. It isn’t because the manager dislikes you.

“Look yourself in the mirror, self-analyse, and find out why you are not in the team.

“I will give them honest answers and this is an opportunity to go out there and prove to me that they are ready to play.”

Though the EFL Trophy is not high on the list of priorities for Wanderers when compared to the league, the prize money on offer – some £10,000 per win, £5,000 for a draw and £20,000 for just taking part – will unquestionably come in handy.

It has been estimated that a run to the final of the competition is worth around £1million in prize money and ticket sales.

Evatt hopes the EFL Trophy can help increase competition within the squad.

“We have to prioritise but that’s not to say the team I put out can’t win the game,” he said. “We have got some fantastic players who didn’t even get on the pitch on Saturday.

“This club needs to be challenging at the top end of the league. With the season being so condensed and having so many games we can’t keep asking the same lads to go to the well all the time. We need a squad who are all reliable.”