Midfielder McWilliams back in training as Cobblers return to full strength

Shaun McWilliams strained a hamstring in the first half of the opening day clash with Lincoln City
Shaun McWilliams strained a hamstring in the first half of the opening day clash with Lincoln City

The Cobblers boss Dean Austin has a fully fit squad to choose from for Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two trip to Colchester United.

Midfielder Shaun McWilliams is back in training after recovering from the hamstring strain he picked up on the opening day of the season, while Aaron Pierre is available for the weekend after missing out at Morecambe on Tuesday as a precaution.

Aaron Pierre missed the midweek trip to Morecambe, but is available for Saturday's match at Colchestere United

Aaron Pierre missed the midweek trip to Morecambe, but is available for Saturday's match at Colchestere United

John-Joe O’Toole is also fully fit after being on the bench for the past couple of games due to a minor ‘ankle and shin’ problem, while Shay Facey and Junior Morias have shown no reaction after being given game time following their recent injury problems.

“Everybody is fit, which is good, and we have a full squad,” Austin told the media on Thursday afternoon.

“Shaun McWilliams is back in training, and I will make a decision on him.

“It will be three weeks to the day tomorrow that he suffered the injury, and he has trained this week, and he did a couple of days last week, although not so much with the team, but with the sports science guys.

“He’s now on the field, and everybody else has come through Tuesday, Shay has come through fine, Junior has come through fine, so they were the only two really that we were kind of having to manage.

“So I am going to have some disappointed players at the weekend when they are not playing, but that’s tough because we’re not winning.

“Nobody can have any complaints when you are not winning, because I have to pick a team to win a game.”

Austin also went on to explain the reasoning behind leaving Aaron Pierre at home as the team made the long trip to the north west coast to take on Morecambe.

Pierre had started alongside Ash Taylor in the opening three league games of the season, but Leon Barnett took his place at the Globe Arena, and Austin said Pierre was spared the trip as a precaution.

“Aaron had a very, very serious injury last year, a very serious groin/hip injury, and we got him back towards the end of last season, when he was just training with us,” said Austin.

“He has then had the summer off, but tried to work to keep the area strong, and he did have a few issues with it.

“We had the two long journeys (to Carlisle and then Morecambe), and we have had to be a little cautious with him, and I have got four very good centre-halves.

“Aaron has done really well in pre-season, worked really hard, and he has played really well in the games, but sometimes you just have to be a little cautious with him.

“We didn’t feel that it was beneficial to him to sit him on a coach for four hours on the morning of a game, when he might get really, really stiff, and then ask him to go out and play.

“That was the reason, and it was one of those where it is short-term pain for long-term gain, and making sure that we keep everybody ready.”