Stevenage's injury crisis means manager Steve Evans has all but picked his side already for the visit of Portsmouth.

Boro have the likes of Terence Vancooten, Luther James-Wildin, Dan Sweeney, Harry Anderson and now Kane Smith on the treatment table and will also be without Nathan Thompson following his dismissal for two yellow cards against Reading.

And with only a small squad to start with, Evans has had his hand forced when it comes to selection.

"We know what we're going to do now," said the boss. "We have probably nine or 10 of the players on the team sheet, already picked. 

"But there's always an option for one or two to show you on Thursday and Friday that they're deserving of a place. 

"We're ready. We have limited availability of players but nothing is long term anymore. They are all very close now. 

"In a couple of weeks we should have something like four or five new players [to choose from] which is what we need.

"Kane is struggling. We’ll give him every opportunity but I think that’s going to be weeks, and obviously we'll miss Nathan."

The human instinct would be to turn to the likes of Sweeney and Anderson and ask them to step in and alleviate the crisis.

Evans though has to detach himself from that and look at the long term implications for the club.

He said: "The downside would be them breaking down and it takes you from days to months. 

"They're all big players and we need all of our players. We’ve got the smallest squad in the league and we’ve probably got the smallest resources. 

"We've recruited some big players but we need to get some of them out of the treatment room and as soon as possible."

The lack of availability means training has automatically been disrupted but a free week gave the boss other options, ones he utilised.

"It's been difficult," he said. "We gave the boys a couple of days off. There are probably 13 or 14 players that have been responsible for playing all those extra minutes because we've been restricted in terms of numbers.

"But training has been bright, very purposeful. Monday they were very bubbly, I think they realised that circumstances at Reading were very unusual [Thompson's dismissal coming after just 22 minutes]."

And he has used the match at the Madejski Stadium last week as part of his teachable moments package.

"It taught us a lot," Evans said. "It taught us that we gave two silly goals away that are highly preventable.

"Dan Butler should deal with not giving the corner away and then young Finley Burns will learn from that. 

"I can remember having Ben White, now at Arsenal, on loan with me at Peterborough as a young man. 

"And he was trying to defend against big James Collins of Luton and he got smashed all over the place. 

"But he learned so much from that day and I tell you what, it never happened again. 

"That's the aim for Finley, to learn from that. 

"The second goal is the one that kills the game and again, it's highly preventable because we always say, home or away, be in the game at 70 or 75 minutes as it gives us a chance. 

We never got that opportunity at Reading."