WARRINGTON Town could be boosted by the return of skipper Jay McCarten when they host Nantwich Town on Saturday, kick off 3pm.

The centre-half has not featured since suffering an ankle injury in the 1-1 draw at Altrincham on January 27 and has missed Yellows’ past eight games.

He had been ever-present before then and manager Paul Carden says he is reluctant to risk McCarten unless he is 100 per cent fit.

“Jay won’t be far off. He’ll train tonight (Thursday),” he told the Guardian.

“He trained last Thursday but he was feeling his ankle a touch after that.

“There’s no point risking him until he’s 100 per cent right. We’re going to have a load of fixtures piled up that we’re going to need him for.

“Hopefully, he’ll be available for selection on Saturday.”

In McCarten’s absence, Jack Higgins has filled the void in the heart of Town’s defence alongside Liam Goulding.

Carden heaped praise on both of them but said stand-in skipper Goulding in particular has been “flawless.”

“Jack has had a bit of an up-and-down season in terms of suspensions, injuries and what not,” he said.

“Hopefully he’s found his feet now and he’s starting to show the player I know he can be.

“Liam Goulding has been immense. He’s really stepped up which is why I’ve given him the captaincy in Jay’s absence.

“He’s always positive wherever you play him. He just keeps his head up and keeps going.

“He’s led by example because he’s been flawless. He’s got a lot of attributes for someone who’s only 21 years of age.”

Following the postponement of Tuesday night’s trip to Grantham, Yellows sit second in the Evo-Stik Premier Division table ahead of Saturday’s visit of Nantwich to Cantilever Park.

The Dabbers have been in improved form of late and Carden knows a tough test stands in the way of his side making it three league wins in a row.

The gap between Town and leaders Altrincham has been cut to seven points and Carden believes his side can close the gap further.

“When you look at the league above and you see what’s happened with Salford in the past month or so, nothing should ever surprise you,” he said.

“That said, we know how good a side Altrincham are and they don’t drop points often.

“All we can do is keep winning games and seeing how many points we can accumulate.

“If we carry on racking up the points, we may see the gap closing further.

“I know Dave Cooke, Nantwich’s manager, very well. Being honest, I’ve tried to sign his son Sean a few times.

“He’s their stand-out player and seems to score or make a goal every week.

“They’ve got some decent lads and they always try and play football.

“There’s never an easy game in this league. They’ll be coming here in confident mood after some good results.

“We’ve just got make sure we’ve got our own game-plan and that we take forward our own confidence from our results of late.”