ARGYLE manager John Sheridan is hopeful top goalscorer Reuben Reid will be ready to return to the first-team fold this weekend when the Pilgrims welcome an in-form Northampton Town side to Home Park.
The striker, who has scored 17 times this season, exacerbated a long-term foot injury during the Devon Derby against rivals Exeter City two weeks ago and has been forced to watch on from the side-lines as the Pilgrims have suffered back-to-back defeats in the league.
“He’s trained this morning with no problems,” said Sheridan, on Thursday. “We’ll have to wait and see him in action in training tomorrow but hopefully he’ll be involved on Saturday.
“He’s an important player and he’s our top goalscorer. He gives a bit of fear into the opposition and I think they’re more relieved when they don’t see his name on the team-sheet than when they do.
“But I don’t want to make out that we’ve lost our last two games because Reuben hasn’t played because I felt we should have won the game the other night - it was a good performance. But, listen, we’re not daft; he’s got 17 goals and we need him in the team.
“I think we’re going to win more games with him in the team. It’s a boost to have him back.”
The Argyle boss, who was also missing on-loan midfielder Olly Lee through suspension, was forced to alter with his team selection in the two defeats against Bury and Stevenage. Attacking midfielder Jason Banton - who has been plagued with injuries all season - featured as a substitute in both fixtures, impressing the manager with his performances, especially a 25-minute cameo at the Lamex on Tuesday.
“Because of the good run we were on, I didn’t change my team for four games,” said John. “Obviously, we won the four games and then, Reuben’s out and Olly’s missing, but I’ve always felt we’ve got the players to come in and fill those shoes. Unfortunately, the results don’t show that.
“Reuben’s back now and Olly will be back after the Northampton game, but I feel as though we’ve got enough players available to go and win on Saturday.
“I think Jason gave us a lift in the game [against Stevenage] and he looked bright. He stretched them a little bit more, bit more threat and he created one or two little opportunities for himself. We all know what Jason’s about when he’s on his game; he’s a really, really good player.
“But 20 minutes, or half-an-hour, isn’t enough. He needs to do a lot more than that he knows that. I’ve told him that, but he hasn’t done himself any harm at all.”