Crewe boss Dario Gradi must decide whether to bring influential midfielder Lee Bell back into the side for the visit of Northampton.

Danny Shelley was drafted in last time out against Stockport on December 11 while Bell served a one-match ban. With Shelley marking an impressive first start of the season with a stunning free-kick goal in the 3-3 draw, Gradi could find it difficult to return to his regular midfield trio.

That could mean either Luke Murphy or Ashley Westwood being axed to accommodate Bell, who had been an ever-present in the team before the game at Edgeley Park.

Leading scorer Clayton Donaldson will be fit. The 11-goal striker was a doubt for the postponed games against Bradford and Accrington with a hamstring problem but the extra rest has given him time to fully recover.

Northampton manager Ian Sampson will have the luxury of a rested squad to choose from.

The Cobblers have not played since the 1-0 win at Stevenage on December 11 and the extended break has allowed several players to regain full fitness.

Right-back John Johnson was clattered by a challenge in that game which saw Stevenage defender Darius Charles dismissed but the former Middlesbrough man is now back to 100%.

Striker Leon McKenzie has used the break to rest his troublesome knee and he will start as Sampson`s men look to build on back-to-back wins.

Fellow forward Tadhg Purcell remains on the sidelines as he recovers from the serious knee injury he sustained in August which ended his season.

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