Gillingham boss Andy Hessenthaler is ready to take a gamble on the kids.
Four straight defeats have left the Gills 13th in League 2, five points off the play-offs, and Hessenthaler, desperate to get out of the current mess, could now act.
“I think they’ve proved they could handle it,” said Hessenthaler, who has so far stayed loyal to his senior players.
“They gave us a fresh impetus on Monday (against Southend) and there was no fear in their game. I still class Jack Payne (pictured) as a kid. He has played a lot of games, but he is a kid. I thought he was terrific.
“It is perhaps time for changes. We can’t keep going on the way we are. Is it a gamble? Yes, it probably is, but it’s one I am prepared to take.”
It could mean a first start for either Jack Evans or Connor Essam, or even both, while the likes of Callum Davies, Ashley Miller and Dean Rance will also be hoping for a call-up.
Hessenthaler said: “Jack Evans came on at right-back and young Connor also came on and did great. The positives for me were the boys who came on."
An ankle injury to Andy Frampton may mean Hessenthaler has to change his defence regardless. Danny Spiller (ankle) and Charlie Lee (knee) remain doubtful and Payne will need to be assessed after taking a blow to his ankle on Monday. Simon King, however, is training and could be in the reckoning.