Osman: Cobblers will get back on track

Midfielder Abdul Osman is confident the Cobblers can get their season back on track against Shrewsbury this weekend - even if star striker Adebayo Akinfenwa isn't passed fit to play.

The talismanic forward has missed the past three games for Northampton, all three of which have ended in 1-0 defeats.

That's a run of results that has left the club's bid for the Coca-Cola League Two play-offs hanging by a string - with three games to go they are three points off the top seven.

This weekend they play host to a Shrewsbury side who have lost four of their past six games but who, thanks to a fine start to the season, are only a point behind Town.

If Ian Sampson's team are to challenge for a spot in the play-offs they must take three points from the Shrews and end a four-game winless streak.

Their chances of doing that will be greatly enhanced if Akinfenwa shakes off an ankle ligament strain in time to play, but Osman

feels the squad has enough quality to get results even without the big man.

"Bayo's a big strong lad and we do miss him," said Osman. "But I feel we've got enough good players to come in and do a job for us.

"Hopefully he'll be back for us sooner rather then later.

"It doesn't matter who plays. We all want to win and make the play-offs, whoever plays in the team."

No first-team regulars were risked in the reserve team that played at Norwich City yesterday, with Chris Dunn, Alex Dyer and Courtney Herbert the only senior starters in a 3-0 loss.

The Canaries themselves put out a youthful side in the totesport.com Combination game at the club's Colney training ground, but their quality came through in a confident win.

"We were beaten by the better side on the day," conceded coach Sean Parrish.

"We got some game time into Chris Dunn, Alex Dyer and Courtney Herbert which was good for them, but the better team won.

"It is a busy end to the season for the reserves so we take this result on the chin and look forward to the next game."