Shay Facey, Junior Morias and Shaun McWilliams are in contention to potentially play some part in Saturday’s League Two clash with Cambridge United having all battled various injuries this season.
Morias and Facey played 73 and 90 minutes respectively at Wycombe Wandeers on Tuesday night while midfielder McWilliams is still nursing a hamstring injury sustained on the opening day of the season.
“They’re all at different stages,” said manager Dean Austin this week. “Shaun is making good progress and Shay played very well the other night and I was happy to see him back. We need him, as we need everyone.
“Hakeem’s done well but Shay came in during last season and did very well for us. He missed some of pre-season but he’s such a fit lad and we wanted to see how long he’d go on Tuesday, not anticipating he’d play the full game.
“He came through and there’s no problem at all but we have to be careful.”
Morias missed a large chunk of Town’s pre-season programme with an ankle injury picked up at the end of last term but he’s gradually worked his way back to full fitness, and Dean Bowditch also looks to have an important role in Austin’s plan after he too played his first 90 minutes on Tuesday.
“Junior is a little bit further behind,” added the Cobblers boss. “It’s obvious to see how effective he’ll be for us and I’m also pleased with Dean Bowditch.
“He had a nasty knee injury at the back end of last year and required surgery. We’ve had to be careful with him and we’ve edged him back in bit by bit but I thought he was outstanding the other night.
“When you have a squad of players like we do and they’re working as well as we are, I will always give opportunities to people.”
In more disappointing news, young Camron McWilliams – brother of Shaun – looks set to be sidelined for a lengthy period with a broken foot while fellow academy player Morgan Roberts is also being carefully monitored.
“We’ve also got some very very good young players at this club,” added Austin. “Jay Williams has come from nowhere and been outstanding, Morgan Roberts is there and you haven’t really seen these guys this year.
“Morgan is having a growth spurt at the moment and it’s not allowed him to get to the physical level that we probably needed him to be at so we’ve nurtured him.
“Cam McWilliams was man of the match against Man United and Watford and he’s a fantastic prospect but he’s broken a bone in his foot, so we have some very good young players and the future is bright.”