Defensive dilemma for Page as Zakuani returns from international duty

Gaby Zakuani tussles with Peterborough's Paul Taylor in the clash between the sides last month
Gaby Zakuani tussles with Peterborough's Paul Taylor in the clash between the sides last month

Cobblers boss Rob Page will run the rule over Gaby Zakuani in training before deciding whether to recall the central defender to play against his former Peterborough United team-mates in Saturday’s big derby date at Sixfields .

Zakuani missed the weekend trip to Gillingham as he was on international duty, captaining DR Congo to a 2-1 World Cup qualifying win over Guinea on Sunday evening.

Lewin Nyatanga

Lewin Nyatanga

The 30-year-old will be desperate to win back his place to play against Posh having spent more than six seasons at London Road, but Page is keeping his cards close to his chest on what his selection will be.

Zakuani has missed two previous matches due to international duty this season, against Milton Keynes Dons in September and then against Scunthorpe United in October, and on both occasions he had to make do with a place on the bench in the following fixtures, against Chesterfield and Millwall respectively.

Lewin Nyatanga certainly impressed alongside league ever-present Zander Diamond in Zakuani’s absence at Gillingham last week, as he has done on previous occasions too, and has made it clear he is going to be battling very hard to keep his place in the first team.

Zakuani has been very influential whenever he has played though, and the Cobblers have lost just two of the 11 league one games he has started this season - the 3-0 loss to Posh and the 3-2 defeat to Bristol Rovers, when he was sent off with the score at 2-2.

It is going to be a difficult selection decision for Page, but one he welcomes.

“We will have a look at Gaby,” said the Town boss. “Obviously he has done a lot of travelling, and we will have to take that into consideration.

“We will see how he is, and he didn’t look right the last time he came back.

“We will have a look at that training, but I though Lewin and Zander were excellent on Saturday, so it is a great problem to have.

“We know Gaby’s qualities, it is just whether the travelling has had an impact on him.

“If we feel the right thing is to put him back in, then we will consider it.”