Midfielder Matt Crooks ruled out of MK Dons clash through suspension

Cobblers midfielder Matt Crooks
Cobblers midfielder Matt Crooks

Midfielder Matt Crooks will miss Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two clash at Milton Keynes Dons through suspension.

The 24-year-old will serve a one-match ban for picking up his fifth booking of the season during last Saturday’s 2-1 PTS Academy Stadium win over Forest Green Rovers.

One door closes, and another one opens... this means there will be an opportunity for some of the players in the changing room now to put their hands up in training

Cobblers boss Keith Curle

The loss of the former Accrington Stanley man is clearly a blow for Keith Curle, as Crooks has been of Town’s best and most consistent performers this season, but the Town boss believes his absence will simply offer somebody else the chance to shine.

“One door closes, and another one opens,” said Curle, ahead of overseeing the Cobblers training session at Moulton College on Tuesday afternoon.

“There are still people within the building that I have not fully had a look at on a match-day occasion.

“You do get some players who look excellent in training on Thursdays and Fridays, but then when it comes to the match-day they are not able to reproduce.

“This means there will be an opportunity for some of the players in the changing room now to put their hands up in training.

“They know there is going to be an opportunity, and it is about who is going to come to the fore, and who is going to be given the shirt for them to earn, and to keep it again.”

Shaun McWilliams will be one of the contenders to replace Crooks in the heart of midfield, but Curle has made it clear he won’t be afraid to change formation from the 3-5-2 he has utilised in his first four games in charge, if he feels it is for the good of the team.

As well as Crooks being unavilable, central defenders Ash Taylor and Leon Barnett are also doubts having missed the past three matches, while striker Junior Morias is still two or three weeks away from returning to full training.