NEXT month’s international break looks like being the answer to Wanderers’ prayers.

Missing several first team players to suspension and injury, Ian Evatt admits the next three league games against Port Vale, Stevenage and Carlisle United might be a case of ‘make do and mend.’

George Johnston, Ricardo Santos, Carlos Mendes Gomes, Paris Maghoma, Joel Coleman, Gethin Jones and George Thomason are definitely unavailable for this weekend’s game at Vale Park, and a handful of players – including Dion Charles and Kyle Dempsey – are carrying injuries that would ordinarily keep them on the side-lines.

Tonight’s game against Manchester United’s Under-21s in the EFL Trophy might ordinarly be a distraction he could do without – but Evatt refuses to be downbeat, and says the opportunity to phase some of his younger players into the squad will give them some important exposure to senior football.

“The facts are that we just have to keep battling on, keep going, because it will get easier,” he said.

“The next few weeks are going to be huge, being able to get everyone back available.

“Other than George Johnston, which was a devastating one at the start of pre-season, touch-wood we haven’t had too many long-term problems. It has all been affecting the short-term.

“So hopefully once we have got past the international break in a few weeks, three more league fixtures, we should have everyone back available again and we can really start to make inroads.

“For now we have to manage things, there will be opportunities for young lads, not necessarily from the start but if we can get ourselves into the game then we can get that opportunity to rest a few people, like Dion and Kyle, who we need to get some rest for the weekend at Port Vale.

“It is not easy at the moment but we all know you’ll have these spells in a season, everyone has them, it is just ours is happening right now and we have to ride it out, pick up as many points as we can, knowing there is a bit of sunshine around the corner.”

Luke Matheson and Nelson Khumbeni have been on the fringes of the first team for a few weeks, training with the senior squad. Both players will be given an opportunity during the game against Manchester United against a level of opposition Evatt feels they should both be able to handle comfortably after their previous experiences at Wolves and Norwich City, respectively.

“Luke, for instance, has been excellent, his attitude is outstanding. And playing against Manchester United’s Under-21s is not unfamiliar,” he said.

“He has come from a Category One academy where he has played this type of game an awful lot, and it is the same for Nelson Khumbeni who came from Norwich City and played a lot of PL2 games.

“This level is probably where they are at, it is just about getting them ready for the bigger picture, the big league games, if need be.”