Cobblers defender Zakuani facing race against time to be fit for Walsall trip

Gaby Zakuani

Gaby Zakuani

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Central defender Gaby Zakuani is facing a race against time to be fit and available for the Cobblers’ Sky Bet League One trip to Walsall on Saturday.

The 30-year-old has been at the Africa Cup of Nations, but he played just one game as the Democratic Republic of Congo reached the quarter-finals, where they lost to Ghana on Sunday.

The Cobblers defender, who is captain of his country, missed the last eight tie and also DR Congo’s final two group games in Gabon after picking up a hamstring strain in their opening 1-0 over Morocco.

Zakuani is the DR Congo skipper, and has returned to his homeland with the rest of the squad for a reception with the country’s president, but should be back in Northampton on Thursday, and that is when his physical condition with be measured.

“We have had dialogue with Gaby, which is good,” said Cobblers boss Justin Edinburgh.

“He wasn’t quite fit enough to play in the quarter-final, but he feels the injury is improving all the time.

“He is meeting with the president on Wednesday, and Gaby will be back here on Thursday.

“We’ll have to assess him, and the weekend might be too soon, but until we get him back in we’re not too sure of his fitness or his availability.”

Zakuani hasn’t played for the Cobblers since the 2-1 defeat to Bradford City on January 2, and if he doesn’t make it for the trip to the Bescot Stadium, he will join Sam Hoskins (knee), Alex Revell (calf) and Brendan Moloney (knee) in the treatment room.