Football - Ace Akinfenwa set for return

Leading scorer Adebayo Akinfenwa is expected to go straight back into the Northampton team against Dagenham & Redbridge.

PA Sport

Akinfenwa was due to return from a one-match suspension against his former club Gillingham on Saturday but the game at Priestfield, like the Cobblers' Boxing Day fixture at AFC Wimbledon, was postponed.

Ishmel Demontagnac is the man most likely to make way for the 14-goal striker. Demontagnac was recalled for Northampton's last game against Aldershot on December 22 but substituted at half-time during the 2-0 win at Sixfields.

While frustrated at being out of action over the Christmas period, manager Aidy Boothroyd believes it might have been a blessing in disguise with a clutch of players nearing a return from injury.

"It's very disappointing but it's one of those situations that you just have to get on with," said Boothroyd, who was going to name midfielder Luke Guttridge on the bench against AFC Wimbledon after a long-term foot injury.

"The positive is that we can get players back. Guttridge, John Johnson and David Artell should all be back by then. Joe Widdowson will be back by then as well and when you add those four names to the squad it certainly makes it look a lot stronger."

Johnson and Artell have been long-term absentees with knee and Achilles problems respectively while fellow defender Widdowson has only been unavailable recently due to a dead leg.

Meanwhile, on-loan right-back Danny East is another player Boothroyd is now unable to call on as the 21-year-old's spell at Sixfields expired at the weekend.

The loan deals for Henoc Mukendi (Liverpool), Clarke Carlisle (York) and Emyr Huws (Manchester City) are all up for renewal in January but Wigan goalkeeper Lee Nicholls' is scheduled to remain with the Cobblers until the end of the season.

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