Gunnedah will be at near full strength and must "man up" in their "massive" away clash to Werris Creek on Saturday, says Bulldogs coach John Hickey.
Hickey has often been frustrated by player unavailability - either due to injury or to work commitments - this season but said there would be no such excuses on Saturday.
"You know, it's time for us to man up," he said.
Hickey said Saturday's clash "gave us an opportunity to go and test our stuff, and either we're there or we're not".
Gunnedah were "desperate", he said, so "anyone that takes it easy will be letting the side down".
"We need everyone to stand up and show that they're A-grade material this weekend," he said.
Gunnedah have slipped to fifth on the ladder, with three wins and a draw from 10 matches, while the Magpies have lost three matches in a row to drop to fourth on the ladder.
But on a cramped table, Gunnedah are only two points behind second-placed Kootingal-Moonbi. There are four matches remaining before the finals.
The clubs are coming off a bye last weekend due to the National Primary Games in Tamworth.
Hickey said his players had responded "pretty good" to their travails.
"I thought last Thursday night was a really good training session," he said.
"We didn't have a lot of guys there but it was a really good training session, where they were really pushing themselves and working really hard to get where we need to be.
"And Tuesday night, we were able to put a team together and do ball work, which has been non-existent for weeks.
"So we were able to train as a team. So that was really good. We worked some stuff out, the boys got to talk with each other and work with each other."
As a result, Hickey is "pretty sure just those basic combinations will be more efficient than they have been in previous weeks".