Smith in line for swift return as Cobblers prepare for Wigan challenge

The Cobblers are set to be boosted by the return to action of George Smith for Tuesday night's trip to high-flying Wigan Athletic.

Monday, 18th September 2017, 11:06 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 11:52 am
Matt Crooks will miss Tuesday's trip to Wigan Athletic following his sending off at Southend United on Saturday (Picture: Sharon Lucey)

The left-sided player missed Saturday’s Sky Bet League One clash at Southend United due to injury, but manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is confident the 21-year-old will be fit to take his place in the squad at the DW Stadium.

Smith, who travelled with the squad to Essex, missed out at Roots Hall due to a ‘hip-flexor injury’, but it was only a minor problem.

“He could have been on the bench on Saturday,” said Hasselbaink, who selected Smith in the left of midfield for his first two games in charge of the Cobblers.

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“But I didn’t want to risk him, and hopefully he should be okay for Tuesday.”

Smith’s return would be a welcome one for Hasselbaink, who will be without the suspended Matt Crooks as he serves his one-match ban for his late sending off at Roots Hall.

Crooks joins the injured midfield trio John-Joe O’Toole, Shaun McWilliams and Sam Foley on the sidelines, although it seems the latter is close to being back in the frame as he trained with the first team on Friday.

The former Port Vale man has yet to feature for Town, as he suffered an injury in the Maunsell Cup Final against Kettering Town in July.

George Smith missed the trip to Southend United, but should be fit for Tuesday night's match at Wigan

Another player who has yet to feature for the Cobblers this season is Raheem Hanley, who was transfer listed in the summer by previous boss Justin Edinburgh.

The left-back, who has a contract with the club until the end of this season, has spent the campaign so far training with Jon Brady’s under-18 squad, but he was called back into the first team training group following Hasselbaink’s appointment as manager.

And he has clearly impressed the new man in charge.

Former Swansea City player Hanley was was a shock inclusion in the match day squad at Roots Hall at the weekend, and Hasselbaink said: “He is in the picture, and he has been training really well.

George Smith missed the trip to Southend United, but should be fit for Tuesday night's match at Wigan

“I don’t know what has happened in the past, I have to analyse everybody on what they do now, and so far he (Hanley) has been good.

“If he keeps on doing well, then he will get a chance.”