Amid a daunting period of fixture congestion, David Batch is adamant he will not risk Jamie Forshaw by rushing him back from injury.
The former Norwich City trainee appeared on the teamsheet on Tuesday night for the first time in 12 weeks, since damaging knee cartilage against Ware in October.
But Forshaw, who was the club’s top scorer at the time with eight goals from 17 games (seven from the bench), was not risked during the 90 minutes, nor was it ever intended he would be.
And Yellows’ boss Batch is certain of one player who will not start Saturday’s game at Heybridge Swifts (3pm).
“He won’t start the game — he isn’t ready to start yet,” he said of the 22-year-old former Wroxham forward. “Hopefully he will have a little bit of football (training) before Saturday so he can test it out, but we will see how it goes.
“He has done a lot of physical work; running and strength work on it, but he hasn’t done much football. Until he does, we can’t really be sure he will be okay.
“We don’t know that yet and that is why it would have been a risk putting him on the pitch.
“But the players that were on the pitch did really well.”
AFC dominated the second half against leaders VCD Athletic, but a winner proved elusive.
James Baker’s 37th-minute penalty had put them in front only for the visitors to equalise six minutes later.
Left-footed utility debut-maker Andy Heald, an employee of Batch’s sports coaching franchise who has been player-manager of Salford City, lasted just 42 minutes before pulling a hamstring.
Batch said: “He came in because we were without Scott Mitchell (family issue) and Michael Shinn (injury), so we needed a presence and a bit of experience in there and it is just a shame he got injured.”
Right-back Michael N’Cho is no longer at the club after the French citizen went north to stay with his cousin, Manchester City’s Yaya Touré, to forge a new life in the UK.
After Saturday’s test at fifth-placed Heybridge, 10th-placed AFC travel to mid-table Burnham Ramblers on Tuesday (7.45pm).
n AFC Sudbury Ladies’ goalkeeper Helena Brodie dislocated her shoulder after initially being knocked unconscious in an incident which saw their home game with Ipswich Wanderers abandoned at Delphi after 15 minutes on Sunday.