Cod Army raring to go Micky Mellon has a virtually full-strength squad to choose from as his Fleetwood side chase a fourth consecutive npower League Two victory against Northampton.
Former Preston midfielder Barry Nicholson is pushing for a start after coming off the bench to score the final goal in last weekend's 4-0 derby romp over Morecambe and Mellon may refresh his first XI as he anticipates a physical encounter with Aidy Boothroyd's men.
"We expect the same as you always get in this division," he told Press Association Sport. "You'll get a well-organised, physical and very fit group that's coming up here to try and beat us. "They're a big physical side and we're going to have to try and make sure that we match that in order to try and play our way. "It's going to be a difficult game but all games at this level are difficult, all games at this level are very, very different as well. We're looking forward to the game."
Long-term knee injury victim Anthony Barry resumed very light work with a football this week but remains some way away from a return to action. Northampton will have Luke Guttridge back in contention. Guttridge has recovered from illness and the midfielder will be in the squad that makes the journey to the north west. Defender John Johnson (shin) remains an injury concern and he will undergo a fitness test. If he is cleared to play, Johnson will contest the right-back position with Hull loanee Danny East. Shane Higgs made his long-awaited return to action following eight months out with a ruptured Achilles tendon in a practice match on Wednesday.
However, the goalkeeper is not ready to be considered for the first team so Lee Nicholls - on loan from Wigan - will continue in goal with 17-year-old Dean Snedker as his back-up. "Shane Higgs is making really good progress and he played 45 minutes in midweek," said Town boss Aidy Boothroyd. "But I won't be putting Shane anywhere near the first team until I'm 100% confident that he's not going to re-injure himself. When you've been out for the amount of time he has, you have to take it very carefully."
Meanwhile, defender Seth Nana Ofori-Twumasi is still at least a month away from full fitness after sustaining a serious knee injury more than a year ago.