THE BIG KICK-OFF: Facey and Morias winning race to be fit for Lincoln opener

Shay Facey is winning his fitness battle and could be involved against Lincoln City on Saturday
Shay Facey is winning his fitness battle and could be involved against Lincoln City on Saturday

Right-back Shay Facey is winning his race to be fit for Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two season opener against Lincoln City – while striker Junior Morias could yet feature from the bench.

Manager Dean Austin has reiterated he won’t be risking either player by rushing them back when they are not ready, but admits they are both ‘very close’ to making themselves available for selection.

Junior Morias

Junior Morias

After a very successful pre-season, the rest of the squad is fit and well, meaning Austin has some tough calls to make as to who starts against the Red Imps at the PTS Academy Stadium at the weekend.

Facey hasn’t played in any of the friendlies since turning an ankle in the 1-0 win at Brackley Town on July 10, but Austin said: “Shay is going to be touch and go, but he is making really good progress.

“I will probably make a decision on him on Thursday, but he is doing a bit of work and coming on well.

“It is just a matter of where we see him in the longer term, as we have a long season ahead of us and we need everyone available as much as we can.

Junior might not affect it from the start on Saturday, but he definitely could from the bench

Cobblers boss Dean Austin

“There is no point in taking a risk on someone on the first day if it’s not warranted, but he is looking good to be fair to him.

“Shay says he feels good and is ready to go, so we will play it by ear.”

Morias was signed close to three weeks ago from Peterborough United, but has yet to feature for his new club due to an ankle problem.

At the weekend, Austin felt the game against Lincoln would be too soon for the 23-year-old, but with a few more days’ training, the striker could now force his way into the reckoning.

“Junior is so close,” said Austin. “He has been training with us since we have come back from Spain, and while we were in Spain he was here working very, very hard.

“He is badgering me every single day to play, and he is getting closer and closer.

“He might not affect it from the start on Saturday, but he definitely could from the bench.”

Austin then went on to explain what Morias’s injury problem has been.

“He had a tendon problem in his ankle,” said the Town boss.

“He is fully fit, but he just had a problem in regards to he got an infection in the cut he suffered, and it put him back.

“It put him back not in regards to pain, but in that he couldn’t get his boot on, and his boot was rubbing against the scar, which is where the infection was.

“But he is fine now, and he is right there in the mix.”