Nigel Adkins likes to throw more curve balls than Bronson Arroyo whenever the subject of team selection is raised.
The Sheffield United manager was typically opaque when discussing who will feature at Craven Cottage on Tuesday evening when his side meet Fulham for a place in the third round of the Capital One Cup.
But he did, when pressed further, suggest that several of those on the periphery of the squad which faced Blackpool last weekend are set to be handed more prominent roles against the Championship club.
“Yes, there are going to be some changes,” Adkins said. “We’ve got a group of players, a group of good players, and we have that for a reason. It is there to be used.
“This season, as we’ve mentioned before, is a long, hard grind. It’s tough and it places demands on people who are already working very, very hard.
“We don’t like to give anything away but we’ve got a lot of away games coming up - this one, then Swindon and after that Hartlepool in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy - so we are mindful of that.”
Adkins, despite acknowledging that football is a simple business - “You stick the ball in at one end and keep it out at the other” - is meticulous when it comes to preparation.
Although injury and illness could yet hijack his plans - United are scheduled to finalise their battle-plan at the Redtooth Academy today - the former Southampton and Scunthorpe chief drafted a starting 11 and substitutes bench before Blackpool’s visit.
Adkins said: “We try to plan ahead with things like this where possible to try and maximise performance. Yes, we have an idea of the team we’d like to play during periods like this in our minds before the run of games starts.
“I think you have to, but of course it always has to be subject to change. It’s not fixed but it is planned.”