Northampton v Cheltenham preview

Team news ahead of Thursday night's League Two play-off semi-final first leg between Northampton and Cheltenham at Sixfields Stadium.

Last Updated: 02/05/13 at 09:26

Kelvin Langmead: Has shaken off a knee injury

Kelvin Langmead: Has shaken off a knee injury

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The hosts are boosted by the return to fitness of Kelvin Langmead, Clive Platt and Ishmel Demontagnac, but Joe Widdowson's knee injury means the defender remains a doubt.

Captain and centre-half Langmead (knee), striker Platt (calf) and midfielder Demontagnac (hamstring) have all been absent in recent weeks but they resumed training on Tuesday to put themselves in the frame for selection against the Robins.

Leading goalscorer Adebayo Akinfenwa and key midfielder Chris Hackett are strong contenders to return to the starting line-up having been rested for recent matches.

Alex Nicholls is the only player who is definitely not available as the striker continues to recover from a broken leg.

The visitors boast an unchanged squad, with defender Harry Hooman, who last featured in October, Town's only absentee after an infection halted his return from a long-term foot injury.

Otherwise, manager Mark Yates boasts the same squad who finished the regular League Two season with last Saturday's goalless draw against Bradford.

Striker Paul Benson made his return from an ankle ligament strain as a second-half substitute against the Bantams and is again in contention for involvement on Thursday.

Ahead of the game, Yates told reporters: "I'm not too keen on telling people my team but we'll pick the team we think that's right to go down to Northampton.

"It's going to be a really tough place. It's going to be a physical bombardment and a battle from their set-pieces, which are a fantastic weapon for them.

"We've got to deal with them. We've got to play our way and we'll have to deal with crowd. They'll have a big, noisy crowd behind them. I've been there when it's been a decent following there and they really get behind the team.

"So we need our supporters and we need the players to embrace the situation, embrace the challenge and really have a go at it."

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