Poku and Henry in the mix as doubts over Morgan-Smith persist

INJURIES will again shape the side that Town boss Gary Brabin puts out for Saturday’s visit of Alfreton, write Mark Wood.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 27th January 2012, 4:08 pm

Doubts over the likes of Amari Morgan-Smith and influential midfielder Keith Keane (both hamstring), are the biggest causes of concern for the Hatters heading into the clash against the Blue Square Bet Premier strugglers.

Brabin said: “There’s one or two things we are concerned about going in to tomorrow’s game but there’s another 24 hours before we assemble the squad.”

Morgan-Smith was forced off in the second half of the goalless draw against Mansfield on Wednesday night, having scored in the FA Trophy victory over Hinckley on Monday evening.

Brabin continued: “There’s one or two things we are concerned about after the other day and certainly Amari is one of them. We will see how that is after today.

“It’s a little bit more than cramp. We’ve had to look after Amari. I don’t think it’s as bad as we first thought but it is a little bit of a concern.

“Amari felt well. We spoke to him at length, he felt good, he was getting stronger and had played 45 minutes (against Hinckley).

“He had worked less on Monday than he would have done in training. It was good for him to get that 45 minutes under his belt, build a little bit of confidence getting that goal and we decided to put him straight in.

“We are disappointed he has got a bit of a pull on the hamstring again.”

Keane, meanwhile, is definitely out, with Brabin saying: “He’s not going to be fit for tomorrow. He’s seeing a couple of specialists and we are waiting on one or two things.

“But we are hoping he will be back in the next week or two.”

Midfielders John Paul Kissock and James Dance are also potential absentees. On Kissock, Brabin said: “Three stitches in his head and a bit of a black eye, but we are more concerned with his haircut!

“James Dance wasn’t 100 per cent but he was on the bench against Mansfield on Saturday so he’s sort of playing through the pain at the moment and that’s the type of character he is. He just wants to play all the time.”

However, he’s been boosted by the fact that defenders Shane Blackett and Dean Beckwith are both back in training while Charie Henry is also in the mix after returning from a successful loan spell at League Two Aldershot.

Brabin said: “Both are back training. Dean Beckwith’s ready to play a game and Shane I think just wants to build his confidence up a little bit with an extra few days training and he could do with a game as well.

“Charlie’s back training with the group and will be added to the squad.”

Godfrey Poku is also in the fram after his successful loan to Southport, while Brabin has been impressed with the way new target man Craig McAllister has settled after signing on loan until the end of the season from Newport County.

He said: Godfrey’s in the squad. He is our player and the initial idea was he was going to go out on loan for experience ‘til January.

“It’s done him the world of good, he’s come back here a much more confident player and he’s in our around the squad at the moment. Not just because of the injury situation, he is there on merit.”

And on McAllister, he added: “He has blended in really well with the group and I think he did well when he came on the other night and I think he gives us that different dimension which we’ve lacked. He’s itching for a start and we will assess the group after our days training today and decide the team.”