The NEW SAINTS boss Scott Ruscoe has admitted his squad is feeling the strain ahead of Friday night's clash with Aberystwyth Town (7.45pm).

TNS were held to a 1-1 draw on Saturday at Newtown, thanks to Greg Draper's late penalty, but remain top of the Welsh Premier League after Connah's Quay were held on Friday night.

Saints were in League Cup action last night against fellow top-flight side Llandudno Town where Ruscoe planned to make give minutes to those of his players who were short of match fitness.

But while he admits that after four of his top stars were ruled out of Saturday's derby and the margins for changes in the next group of games for TNS will prove to be difficult, he expects his players will be able to cope.

"We wouldn’t have made wholesale changes for Llandudno but we have a squad that can adapt," he said.

"But we have injuries; Jamie Mullan, Aeron Edwards and Blaine Hudson all missed the game through injuries and Adrian Cieslewicz is still out.

"That’s four good players out so we couldn’t have changed the whole squad anyway.

"We’re getting to that point of the season were injuries may take that toll on us."

Ruscoe admitted he was frustrated by dropping two points at Newtown but is calling on his players to draw on the experience of their of their recent thrashing of the seasiders at Park Hall.

He believes it might be a case of 'wait and see' as to what side they will face as he feels Town are an enigma.

He added: "Aber are a bit of an inconsistent team, but on their day they’ve got pace and experience. I just feel that away from home on their nice 3G pitch, we need to be making amends for the draw on Saturday.

"We put six past them at Park Hall but we were really good on the night so we’ll be going into Saturday with positivity.

"One aspect from Saturday is that we need to stretch teams more than what we do when we’re getting man-marked.

"We need to individuals to affect the game and not just as a team; we have to take the game by the scruff of the neck and have people make decisions to drag a defender there or run in behind.

"We need to do things that aren’t maybe expected because we play in a world where we want to keep the ball and be safe.

"There’s a fine line between trying to much and being too safe and that’s what we want to see this week."

n See Page 71 for Ruscoe's reaction from the draw at Newtown plus a match report.