Peterhead manager Jim McInally is looking forward to returning to action – but insists avoiding injuries will be key.
Leagues One and Two resume after more than two months in cold storage this Saturday, with the Blue Toon facing Airdrieonians at Balmoor.
For the Buchan outfit, this means they will play 11 league fixtures in the next seven weeks, as well as still being in the Scottish Cup.
McInally believes the busy schedule will take its toll and lead to injuries, but is hoping his squad isn’t hit too hard as they look to finish the campaign strongly.
Scotland’s longest-serving manager said: “I’m looking forward to it and it’s going to be very interesting that’s for sure.
“The word unprecedented has been used a lot in the last year and it’s unprecedented for lower-league teams to be playing this number of games.
“We haven’t had the pleasure of being able to use five subs in a game yet this season.
“You’ll need to be a wee bit lucky with injuries, even last weekend we were playing a practice match among ourselves and Alan Cook’s knee gave way in the first minute.
“You’re going to need to be lucky with things like that.
“I think you’ve got to use your eye in terms of judging things and seeing the players that will be OK and the players that might be struggling a wee bit.
“I’m not usually a manager who rotates a lot, but in these circumstances I won’t have any choice if I have the luxury to rotate.”
When it comes to the schedule between now and the end of the campaign, McInally accepts there are other clubs in a worse position.
Clyde have 14 matches left, while East Fife and Dumbarton both have 13 games to play.
However, the Peterhead boss is still aiming to add further to his squad before the loan window shuts at the end of March to ensure they can cope with the schedule ahead.
McInally remains hopeful of bringing Lyall Cameron and Josh Mulligan back to the Blue Toon on loan from Dundee.
He added: “It’s what we expected really. I think we’re quite lucky we’re not caught in a Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday scenario.
“We’ll all just have to deal with it and we will need a bit of luck with regards injuries.
“We’re still working on trying to get some more bodies in to help us and there’s nothing else you can do but get on with it.”
Peterhead already have a number of absentees ahead of their meeting with Airdrie on Saturday.
Midfielder Simon Ferry, striker Steven Boyd and defender Andrew McDonald are all suspended.
Midfielder Gary Fraser has been ruled out for the season after dislocating his patella in December, striker Ben Armour is a doubt having not trained this week and winger Alan Cook is set to miss out after hurting his knee in the bounce game last weekend.
On Cook, McInally said: “Alan’s versatility and his effort has been first class. He’s played in the middle of the park, up front and out wide and his attitude is brilliant.
“It’s those sort of guys that we’ve relied on this season and when you lose somebody like Alan it’s hard with what’s in front of us.
“But we’ll have enough to still be competitive until we get players back in.”