Sam Hoskins and Lewin Nyatanga are winning their fitness fights to be available for the Cobblers’ Sky Bet League One clash with title contenders Bolton Wanderers at Sixfields on Saturday.
Central defender Nyatanga missed Tuesday night’s 1-0 defeat at Bradford City after picking up an Achilles problem in training on Monday, while Hoskins was taken off midway through the second half at Valley Parade.
The attacking midfielder was struggling after suffering a back spasm, but is on the mend and it seems both are on course to be available for selection to take on the high-flying Trotters.
“Sam suffered a back spasm at half-time on Tuesday and he was in a bad way,” said Page in Thursday morning’s press briefing. “But fair play to him he wanted to carry on, so we tried to get as many minutes out of him as we possibly could.
“We had to make the change in the end because of it, but we will have a look at him today.
“He was in on Wednesday for some treatment, and the won’t do anything on Thursday because it is about getting him fit and ready for Saturday’s game.”
Page also reiterated that Nyatanga was left out of the trip to Bradford as a precaution, and said: “We will have him available for Bolton.
“If he had played on Tuesday, then we would have run the risk of him ending up being out for three or four weeks, and with Zander Diamond’s injury, we couldn’t take that chance, especially when you have somebody like Rod McDonald to call on, who went in and gave the performance he did.
“I made the choice that I would rather leave him (Nyatanga) out and have him for the next few games, because we have some great games coming up.”
Nyatanga’s availability means Page now has a selection issue in defence, as McDonald and Gaby Zakuani performed well at Bradford on Tuesday, and the manager was particularly delighted with McDonald’s showing.
“With Lewin and Zander injured, we threw Rod in and I thought he gave a good account of himself,” said Page.
“I thought he was very, very good, and that is what you ask of your players when you give them an opportunity, to go in and give a performance, and he certainly did that.
“We all know what Rod is capable of doing from his performances last season, albeit this year is a step up, but he gave a good account of himself on Tuesday, and you do need that strength in depth.”
Page also revealed that Diamond has undergone surgery on his fractured cheekbone, and had a plate inserted.
The Cobblers boss had initially feared he would be without the Scotsman for at least six weeks, but he now feels the former Aberdeen man could be back sooner than that.
“Zander has had surgery, and that has been a success and gone really well for him,” said Page.
“It is now a case of some down time for him to give him that opportunity to recover.
“We are going to see how it goes, but I don’t think he will be out for six weeks, it is going to be less than that which is good news, but we can’t put a definite timescale on it.
“He has had a plate put in his cheek, and once that has settled and the bone starts knitting into that he will be good to go.”
The Cobblers’ only other injury concern is attacker JJ Hooper, who damaged a thigh muscle in the 2-1 defeat at Gillingham a fortnight ago.
Hooper has undergone scans and is back at Port Vale having treatment, but again Page is hopeful he will be back in full training at Moulton in the not too distant future.
“Originally JJ was ruled out for four to six weeks, but it is going to be less than that now,” said the Town boss.
“It has been a couple of weeks now, and we are looking at maybe another week to 10 days. He is recovering really well, and that is good news.”