Lee Clark has reintroduced the reserve team after finding a host of unfit squad players at Bloomfield Road.
The new boss was stunned to find players like Charles Dunne hadn’t kicked a ball in anger since joining the club in the summer.
Unlike previous regimes which arranged behind closed doors games for their back-up players, none have been booked this season which left some desperately short of match practice.
And after Dunne was forced off with cramp just an hour into his debut, Clark instantly arranged two behind closed doors games.
“The lads who aren’t in the eleven need to be getting minutes on the football pitch and getting competitive games,” explained Clark.
“When I talk about the fitness I don’t mean the seven or eight players who have played most of the season, they are in good condition.
“It’s the rest of the group who are short.
“It’s not a general fitness issues, it’s making sure the whole squad is ready and able when called upon.
“That was a clear issue with young Charles Dunne when he first broke into the side, it was his first game of football of the season.
“Where we are positioned in the country there are lots of clubs around us who are willing to play games and that’s what we intend to do.
“It’s crucial we arrange games.”
Clark’s plans were dealt a slight knock-back last night after Wigan pulled-out of today’s planned behind closed doors game following the sacking of boss Uwe Rosler.
Irish international Darren O’Dae was set to be joined by three unnamed players, all with recent Premier League experience.
Clark had also hoped to field the likes of Jamie O’Hara, Nile Ranger, Jacob Murphy, Tony McMahon and Jacob Mellis while Steven Davies was hoping to step-up his return from injury. It’s expected the same squad will now feature against Manchester United on Tuesday.
Clark added: “These games are vital for these type of players to get some fitness into them.
“We’ve got Wigan today and Manchester United on Tuesday and I intend to make these a regular feature from now on for us. “Where we are positioned in the country gives us the chance to face I’ve we can go to Liverpool, Everton or one of the big Manchester clubs to have competitive games.
“It erases the problems we have at the moment where players coming in will find it physically difficult to last the duration.”