Northampton midfielder Ryan Gilligan is a fitness doubt for manager Ian Sampson as the Cobblers prepare to host Burton Albion.

Gilligan scored his ninth goal of the season in the 2-1 win at Darlington on Tuesday night but then came off with a groin strain and he is a doubt to face the Brewers.

Former Coventry man Kevin Thornton came on to replace Gilligan and make his debut and is an option to start, while John Curtis could also come in alongside Abdul Osman.

On-loan Middlesbrough full-back John Johnson is also a doubt after he complained of a dead leg so Paul Rodgers is on standby to return to the back four.

Steve Guinan (hernia) and Liam Davis (foot) remain definite absentees as Sampson looks to extend his side's unbeaten record to nine games.

Guy Branston has signed a loan deal with Torquay ahead of Burton's trip.

The Albion central defender will remain at Plainmoor until the end of the season, meaning he will be unavailable for the trip to Sixfields.

Paul Boertien also misses out due a swollen thigh although it is not expected to sideline him for the long-term, while fellow defender Darren Stride is also nursing a groin injury.

Steve Kabba got the nod alongside Shaun Harrad in attack for Wednesday's 1-0 victory over Lincoln and he is again expected to start with Greg Pearson on the bench.

Long-term absentees Ryan Austin and Michael Simpson remain on the sidelines as Albion look to record a third successive victory against a Cobblers just just one place above them in the table.

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