Maitland coach Mick Bolch freely admits he may have got the balancing act wrong with his side last week in a 4-0 loss to Hamilton.
And he knows they can't afford any mistakes against the dangerous Adamstown in round 10 of the Northern NSW NPL at Cooks Square Park on Sunday.
Coming off a five-match unbeaten streak taking in wins over Charlestown and Edgeworth, the Magpies rested James Thompson and Ryan Broadley to start Alex Read and Sean Pratt against Olympic.
Pratt had scored twice for Maitland off the bench and the versatile Read had also been valuable late.
However, Bolch said the changes to the starting side "did affect the balance of our team" and they needed to get it right against Rosebud. Maitland are eighth with 11 points from seven games but just six points from leaders Magic.
"We'd been doing well with Read, Pratt and [Grant] Brown coming off the bench as impact players, but they are probably not match fit to be playing 90 minutes," Bolch said.
"But you are trying to get fitness into their legs so when you need them, they are ready to go.
"It's a hard balancing act.
"I've got to look at myself a bit. We went five games undefeated and I changed the side, and we lost 4-0. There's definitely questions we'll have to answer this weekend."
Bolch said Matt Thompson was having a fitness test on a minor strain but he was expected to play. Mat Swan was back from injury, giving Maitland a likely full-strength line-up.
They face a Rosebud side who lost 1-0 to the Jets Youth via a late penalty last week. Adamstown have only six points in nine games, but wins over Hamilton and Charlestown have shown their potential to shock top opposition with their counter-attacking style.
"When they play the teams higher up the table, they seem to defend really well and have a good structure," Bolch said. "They did well against Charlestown and Olympic, just soaking up the pressure and catching teams on the break.
"They've got a bit of pace up front with Matt Sokulsky, Fin Beasley and Connor Heydon. They are all doing well. The team have definitely improved a lot."
Adamstown fell to Maitland 9-1 in the corresponding clash last season, in round three, before recovering to finish the season on 20 points.
"Since then we've done better," Adamstown coach Shane Cansdell-Sherriff said.
"We had a 2-2 draw in the return leg with them and we played them pre-season and lost I think 2-0, so it's going to be a tough game. They have a lot of experience in their side but we're in a different place now and we're moving forward.
"Last week against the Jets we defended a lot better, and we've conceded only two goals the past two games. There's a lot of positives but it's going to be a tough game.
"It's a tough place to go, a big, open pitch, but hopefully we'll apply ourselves the right way and come away with a result."
With a weakened side, Adamstown lost 3-0 to second-tier Kahibah in the FFA Cup in between NPL games but Candsell-Sherriff expected to have a full-strength team against the Magpies.
Also Sunday, Valentine and Lake Macquarie, both on four points, clash at CB Complex and the Bears (13 points) welcome Edgeworth (16) at Weston Park.
On Saturday, Lambton Jaffas (14) take on Charlestown (12) at Edden Oval (2.30pm) and Broadmeadow (17) play the Jets Youth (16) at Magic Park (5pm).