JACK Stephens could be available for Saturday’s trip to Barnsley, Town boss Mark Cooper has revealed.
The on-loan Southampton defender has yet to make his second debut for the club due to a bout of tonsillitis, but was with the Town squad at Newport tonight and could return for the trip to Oakwell.
There is also good news regarding midfielder Ben Gladwin, who is set to return to training on Thursday after suffering an ankle ligament injury at the end of August.
“We’re hoping Jack will be available for the weekend after some good training today, he will train for the rest of the week and hopefully he’ll be fit to play some part on Saturday,” Cooper said.
“Ben Gladwin’s been given the all clear to start training with the squad on Thursday.”
Saturday’s game in Yorkshire is scheduled to be the last of defender Josh Lelan’s second loan from Derby, with Cooper set to make a decision on whether to keep the youngster after the weekend.
“Josh can play on Saturday, he did fine tonight so we’ll see after the weekend,” the Town boss said.
The likes of Jack Barthram, George Barker and Anton Rodgers were all involved in the 2-1 JPT win at Newport tonight, with Cooper especially pleased to progress as it allows his squad players to pick up much-needed game time.
“You can tell they can all play in a way we are accustomed to so it’s not like we’re putting square pegs in round holes, they know how we play and it’s important we get through these games because it gets these players time on the pitch in competitive games rather than development games,” he said.
“These games are perfect for keeping the squad active and focused. The big thing is the games for the players not starting in the league games, it gives us a competitive edge which is really important.
“When you play like we do you are going to have spells where we come under pressure because we take risks with the ball, that’s’ what happens, but we’re going to keep playing. We’re going to keep trying to eradicate those mistakes but I’m convinced the more these players play the less they will happen.”