James Taylor is keeping his fingers firmly crossed to return to the fold on Tuesday night (September 30) when Ashington take on Guisborough at Woodhorn Lane.
The versatile 23-year-old has missed the last few matches with a broken toe – but got a boost when he was able to kick a ball before last Saturday’s league clash and consequent 2-1 defeat by West Auckland.
“I hate being out because it’s frustrating,” he said.
“I hadn’t been able to strike a ball until today and if I can make progress over the next couple of days I could possibly make the bench on Tuesday with a view to being available to start next Saturday.”
Taylor added: “When I was at Newcastle United I picked up the exact same injury.
“This time I’ve opened it back up so with it not being a fresh break, that’s why I am kicking a ball after only a couple of weeks.
“If I can get through a bit of a pain barrier then I should be fine.”
Meanwhile skipper Andrew Johnson could face up to another month on the sidelines with an identical injury to Taylor’s.
The 27-year-old – a project officer for the Newcastle United Foundation – has so far been ruled out for five weeks.
“I broke my toe in the derby against Bedlington,” he said.
“After having x-rays, the initial diagnosis was six weeks out. I went to see a physiotherapist last week who said it could be another four weeks.”
And Johnson admits he has taken badly to being out of action.
“It’s horrendous, I hate watching because I cannot help the team,” he said.
Johnson – happy that his good mate Glen Taylor has been given the captain’s armband to wear in the absence of James Taylor and himself – is pleased the Colliers have picked up some form although he never doubted it.
“Apart from the result against West Auckland today, I’m happy that things have returned to normal,” he said.
“The last few performances have been really good and I always knew things would come right because we have got too many good players for it not to go well.
“It boils down to work-rate and a bit of luck.
“The win against Billingham Synthonia kick started us and then we performed well in the FA Cup against Scarborough followed by the wins over Consett and Whitley Bay.”