John Coleman is pleased to be starting to get good news from the physio room this week even though a number of players are still likely to be ruled out for Saturday’s game with Stevenage.

A spate of injuries and illness led to reduced numbers on the trip to Luton last weekend.

But the return of Shay McCartan, who was taken ill in the FA Cup win at Bradford a fortnight ago prompting a rigorous series of tests, has the manager feeling optimistic.

“Shay’s had the all clear from the medical staff, which is a big boost for us all,” said Coley. “He’s just a good player. When you get him on his game he can be exciting and we need players like that. That’s what we’ve been missing. But for the width of a crossbar twice last season Shay would have been a hero against Stevenage. It’s good to have him back.”

There’s less good news on full back Janoi Donacien, who will once again miss out through injury, but a number of others could return to the fold.

“Janoi won’t be available,” confirmed Coleman. “He is having an operation this week. We’re hoping to have him back by mid December so hopefully it’s not the end of the world but will have to continue to do without him.

“In the last three weeks we’ve lost a number of players. Callam Jones hasn’t been available to us due to going back to West Brom and I know he hasn’t featured a lot but he’s still been part of the squad.

“We’ve then lost Zak Vyner, Janoi Donacien, John O’Sullivan and Shay. Chris Eagles has been away for family reasons. Billy Kee has been ill. That’s a third of your squad. At this level that’s very difficult to cope with. I think the lads who have come in have done okay, they would like to have done better but I think you can see we’ve been hampered by the absentees.

“I know we’re not the only team who suffers from injuries but that is a lot of players to lose in a short space of time.

“Just getting back to full health will do Billy the world of good. Training and getting a chance to get a run of games will help him but first and foremost he has to get into the side. I think Terry Gornell has done really well in general play and one of the most consistent players in recent weeks. He generally plays better with pressure on him and so does Billy. It would be a nice problem to have.”