JOSH Wright led City out on the opening day of the season as the proud captain.

Not quite four months on and he did not even travel with the squad to Luton.

As David Hopkin firms up his options in midfield, the 29-year-old has been the biggest casualty.

Karl Henry’s recent arrival has knocked him further down the pecking order. The presence of both Danny Devine and Luca Colville on the bench at Kenilworth Road suggests he is currently a fair way back.

Hopkin insists the door is not shut on the player that Michael Collins entrusted with the skipper’s armband during his short and ill-fated spell in charge.

But a question mark will inevitably hover over Wright’s prospects at Valley Parade.

Hopkin said: “I’m picking a squad now. I’ve got a full bench and a lot of midfield players that I can choose from.

“Young Luca Colville has come back as well as Danny Devine. It’s just one of those things.

“I picked the squad (against Luton) that I thought would give us a chance of getting a result and make it as difficult as we could. That was the only reason that Josh wasn’t with us.

“People will look at it but it’s no more than that. Josh is still in my thoughts.

“He just needs to make sure that with everything we do now, he’s trying that bit harder.”

Wright, who has made 15 appearances, last played in the Checkatrade Trophy defeat at Barnsley. But he has not been involved in the league since City were beaten 1-0 by leaders Portsmouth at the start of the month.

“I’ve brought Karl in, we’ve got Jim (O’Brien), Danny, Luca and Lewis O’Brien,” added Hopkin. “It’s an area of the pitch where we’re really strong.

“I just think that at this moment in time Karl and Jim give us that wee bit more stability.”

City will carefully monitor Jack Payne before deciding whether to throw him in from the start when they return to Peterborough in the FA Cup.

Payne’s arrival from the bench at Luton transformed City going forward but Hopkin will not take any chances on his fitness.

He said: “Jack was struggling from Saturday and we were touch and go whether to put him on.

“But give Jack credit, he wanted to go out there and he made a massive difference.

“You could see his quality, him and David Ball have got that wee bit about them.

“But we’ve got massive games coming up and it’s important that he is 100 per cent to play.

“He wanted to come on but I think that you could see towards the end he was struggling a bit with running.”

Anthony O’Connor is back from his one-game ban and Hopkin intends to name his strongest possible team – with the prospect of a plum third-round draw for the winners.

“Centre of the park is probably where we’ve got the most choice but everywhere else we’re a bit light as we keep saying, like in the wide areas.

“I want to be playing as strong a side as I can because I know Peterborough will.

“It’s a massive carrot for the club to get in the next round of the cup and potentially earn a big draw.”

Kelvin Mellor is another that City will take a look at after coming through his first game in over two-and-a-half months.

Hopkin said: “We’ll have to wait and see how he is. We are doing very little in training to make sure everyone recovers in time.”