The NEW SAINTS boss Scott Ruscoe has admitted he has faced a difficult week, but has refused to use injuries as an excuse.

TNS crashed out of the Welsh Cup at the quarter-final stage to Connah's Quay in mid-week, ending hopes of a 'domestic' treble with the League Cup already secured and the league all but won.

But Ruscoe insisted around seven first-choice players were missing from the side that snatched a late point through Kevin Kauber's stoppage-time goal at Cardiff Met but knows that with the league almost wrapped up, he can rest players.

"It’s been a difficult last few weeks with Dumbarton (in the Irn-Bru Cup), Connah’s Quay and then Cardiff Met drawing with us too," said Ruscoe.

"But you can see we’re carrying injuries – we’re not making excuses, it’s how it is in terms of players we have available to choose from.

"It’s coincided together with results and injuries. We’ve been pushing the lads hard as well.

"Potentially, because the league is almost done and that’s it, we can give some of the lads a rest who need it. There was seven players missing on Saturday who could arguably be in our starting line-up.

"The squad is being used; we had four 17-year-olds in that squad and Ben Clark came on.

"Kevin came on too and scored which was good for him. We had chances to win it but we’ve played ok; it’s not like they outplayed us or anything. I’d have been really disappointed if we’d lost the game but the 92nd minute leveller shows the depth of our character in our squad."

Ruscoe reserved words of praise for Kauber's patience and admitted some players may be playing for the futures in the final stages of the season.

He added: "It was good for Kevin to finally make an impact. Since his debut against Caernarfon, he’s been having bit parts, getting him on and getting used to the way we play.

"You can train all you want but it’s games where you get used to players, and it’s been hard to give him a start. Dean Ebbe came straight in because he’s a forward and then Greg Draper came back early from training, who also plays in his position.

"Players, both who we’ve brought in and those few who are out of contract in the summer, have something to play for.

"We do need to freshen up and we’re looking at targets. But we know we only need four points to win the league and beating Bala on Friday will all-but-secure that."