STUART McCall hopes to have defensive duo Nathaniel Knight-Percival and Matt Kilgallon back in harness against Northampton.

But Tony McMahon's thigh injury is expected to keep him out for another week.

Knight-Percival missed the FA Cup upset against Yeovil after his hamstring issue flared up over the double-header New Year weekend.

Then Kilgallon was forced off at half-time following a whack on his shin at Huish Park.

With no Luke Hendrie or Tom Field to call on, it has left McCall stretched over his back-four options – and he will be keeping his fingers crossed that headache eases for the Valley Parade clash with the Cobblers on Saturday.

The City boss said: "Killa has still got a lot of swelling on his shin but he should be okay. We think Nat will be all right as well.

"The problem he's had flared up again from playing two games in three days. His body wasn't ready to go and play again at Yeovil and he could have given himself long-term damage.

"But he had three days to rest over last weekend to let it settle down and we're hoping it's not going to be anything to worry about."

Knight-Percival is full of praise for Kilgallon's contribution in the season so far. Their partnership at centre half has been a cornerstone in City's promotion push.

"When you're playing with someone as experienced and talented as Killa, it makes the game a lot easier for me as well," said Knight-Percival.

"His communication, positioning and overall knowledge of the game is really helpful. He helps me to manage games and get through them.

"You could say he is making up for lost time this season. He didn't play as many games as he would have liked last year – but that happens in football.

"It's how you handle that and it's credit to him that he's plugged away and kept going.

"It's shown this season that he's a quality player and is getting the game time that he didn't get before."

Meanwhile, Adam Chicksen has been pencilled in for some involvement in the reserve game against Doncaster on Tuesday.

The left back, who has not played since tearing his thigh three months ago, is currently doing some light training.

Chicksen's imminent return will be welcome with City short on numbers at full back.

McCall said: "At the moment, we've got Tyrell (Robinson) at left back who we know is predominantly more attack-minded. That's all right at home, depending on who you're playing against.

"But with Tom and Luke departing and Chicksen and Macca injured, the full-back areas could do with strengthening."

Midfielder Jake Reeves should rejoin training today after undergoing another injection in his troublesome groin that has kept him out of the last four games.

But Omari Patrick faces a spell on the sidelines after picking up a knee injury.