GARY Rowett says the presence of George Taft and Callum McFadzean in his Burton Albion squad eases the pressure on Damien McCrory's return.
The 24-year-old left-back is recovering from an operation to clean out a damaged knee and is expected to miss the first month of the season.
It is a blow, but the form of Taft in the pre-season friendlies and the presence of McFadzean has lifted the cloud.
"What their presence allows us to do is perhaps be a bit more patient with Damo, knowing that George or Callum McFadzean can play that position," said Rowett.
"And we've also got that competition for places at the back."
Taft has impressed since joining the Brewers following his release by Leicester City.
He is a left-footed centre-half who can also play at left-back to good effect.
Rowett moved quickly to make the 21-year-old his first signing of the summer.
While he may have to be patient in his bid for a place in the middle – Ian Sharps and Shane Cansdell-Sherriff were arguably the best pairing in League Two last season – Rowett is delighted to have a quality young player ready to come in.
"It's very unlikely that the whole back four will stay fit and available for the whole season," he said.
"Obviously, you hope they do, but you need players who can come straight in and do a good job.
"In George, what we've got is a very good young player.
"Over the last two years he's played left sided centre-half and left-back quite a bit.
"There's always going to be a headache of some sort as a manager.
"You've got to manage that and the ones in form and the best ones will play."
The presence of Taft and the likes of Marcus Harness, Joe Doyle and Liam Slade in the first-team has given the Brewers a young edge to them.
"There's probably a younger tinge to the squad this season and so therefore we can improve those players," said Rowett.
"Hopefully they are going to get lots and lots of opportunities to put that into practice on the pitch.
"And from what we've seen, George is a player of huge potential."