Striker Smith set to return for Bury trip, but Williams and Wylde ruled out

Striker Michael Smith is fit and available for the Cobblers squad for Saturday's crucial relegation battle at fellow strugglers Bury.

Thursday, 20th April 2017, 11:37 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:45 pm
Michael Smith has shrugged off the injury he picked up at Millwall on Good Friday

Town need a point to guarantee their Sky Bet League One safety regardless of other results, and the return of the Portsmouth loan man increases the attacking options for boss Justin Edinburgh.

On the downside, it has been confirmed loanees Luke Williams (hamstring) and Gregg Wylde, who has undergone surgery, have both been sent back to their parent clubs as their seasons have been ended early by injury.

The Cobblers will also travel to Gigg Lane without the suspended Dave Buchanan and John-Joe O’Toole, which means changes will have to be made to the team that drew 1-1 with Shrewsbury Town on Easter Monday.

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Edinburgh will be least pleased to see Smith recover from the injury that forced him off in the first half of the 3-0 Good Friday defeat at Millwall, and says the absence of Buchanan and O’Toole means chances for others to impress.

“We have to look forward to Bury and making changes which we will do,” said the Cobblers boss.

“We are missing two players (Buchanan and O’Toole) who have been excellent for me since I have come in.

“But as I always say that gives somebody else an opportunity to come into the team, put a performance in and show me their value to this football club.”

The Cobblers know a point or a win at Bury will guarantee their survival, regardless of results from elsewhere, but they could also be safe on Saturday evening even if they lose, providing other results go their way.

If Town were to slip to defeat to Lee Clarke’s side, then they will be safe if if Port Vale lose against Bolton Wanderers or Shrewsbury Town lose against Southend United.

If the Cobblers lose, and both Vale and Shrewsbury win, the battle will move on to the final day of the season, providing Vale beat Walsall in their game in hand next Tuesday.

A big crowd is expected at Bury, who have reduced admission prices to just £5 for adults (£1 concessions) in a bid to attract supporters through the turnstiles for a game the Shakers need to win.

Clarke’s side are one place and two points above the bottom four with two matches of the season remaining.

They are five points adrift of 16th-placed Cobblers.