Town Skipper Nathan Thompson has been ruled out of his side’s trip to Charlton Athletic on Sunday (12pm Kick-Off).
The defender suffered a reoccurrence of a troublesome heel injury during the draw with MK Dons earlier this month and he will continue to be sidelined, meaning that he won’t play any part in the Reds’ final fixture of the 2016/17 campaign this weekend.
“We were desperately hoping that we could inject the area and give Nathan a chance to feature in the last game, but it wasn’t to be,” Town Head Coach Luke Williams said at his pre-match press conference earlier today.
“Nathan now needs to nurse what could have potentially been a serious injury.
“It was a ticking time bomb and now he can make a very comfortable recovery because nothing is ruptured and nothing is torn in half, but it was going in that direction.
“It will heal now and Nathan will be fighting fit by the time he needs to embark on pre-season training.”
With relegation already confirmed, Williams also revealed how he plans to approach Sunday’s game while hinting at a possible Town debut for Jesse Starkey.
“We must give players who are under contract for next season the chance to show how much they want to be part of the plans for 2017/18,” he continued.
“It is a trial game in many ways and it is a great opposition and a great stadium to try and show what your qualities are and what you are made of.
“At the same time, we need to make sure that there are some players in the team who have been there and done it and can help players with less experience to shine.
“We have to get the balance right but it is an obvious opportunity for us to give players the chance to show what they can do.
“There’s potential that Jesse Starkey can play and show us what he can do without the immense pressure that we’ve been under for quite a considerable amount of time.
“He can go on the pitch, relax and try and show everybody that he’s ready for more football and he’s ready to be a part of things.”
Town will also be without Nicky Ajose this weekend with the striker unable to play against his parent club on Sunday.
“Nicky didn’t score the goals that he was hoping for and that we were all hoping for,” Williams added.
“It was probably a different team to the team that he was involved in last year and we didn’t attack as much as we had done previously.
“He was starved a little bit of chances and we know that if he gets a good opportunity inside the box then he’ll take it.
“He’s played his last game this season for us.”