Oxford United’s 19-goal top scorer Kemar Roofe is rated as only having a 50/50 chance of being fit to take on the Cobblers in Tuesday night’s promotion battle at the Kassam Stadium.
Former Cobblers loanee Roofe has been Oxford’s standout performer this season, and scored in their 4-2 win at Morecambe on Saturday.
But the former West Bromwich Albion man was also forced off the field with a groin injury, and Us boss Michael Appleton has admitted he is a big doubt to take on Northampton.
A couple of other unnamed players are also said to be struggling after picking up knocks at the Globe Arena, and Appleton says he won’t risk anybody who is not 100 per cent fit.
“We’ve got a couple of knocks and I think it’s going to be 50/50 whether they’re going to be available for tomorrow,” Appleton told the Oxford Mail.
“We’ll give them as long as we possibly can and see where they get to, but we’re not going to put the player at risk at all.
“We’ll listen to the player and take advice from how he thinks it is, then make a decision early tomorrow.”
Appleton stressed he would not take a gamble on the fitness of Roofe, who made seven appearances while on loan at the Cobblers back in 2012.
Asked if he would risk the player if he wasn’t quite ready as they are up against the leaders and can close to within six points of the Cobblers with a win, Appleton said: “Absolutely not, because we have 17 games and there’s a hell of a lot of points to play for.
“It 100 per cent doesn’t make any difference to us, we’ve got other big games as well as Northampton - one’s on Saturday (Accrington Stanley at home).”
“I’d like to think he’s (Roofe) intelligent enough to know it’s not about one game, it’s about the rest of them.
“I’m sure after a quiet conversation with him, he’ll make the right decision.”