NAT Jarvis is itching to prove a point to his former employers when Gloucester City travel to Brackley Town tonight, but caution may prevent the former Saints striker from playing a part.
The one-time Cardiff City trainee has been struggling with a hamstring injury and missed Saturday’s 3-3 draw at Gainsborough Trinity.
And although he is busting a gut to prove to the St James’ Park faithful that he can produce more than he gave in a short spell in Northamptonshire, caution will be the watchword.
Tigers boss Tim Harris had a lengthy conversation with the 22-year-old front man on Sunday night and explained that the season was about much more than just one game.
“I had a long chat with Nat and he feels that he is ready to go, but I have to err on the side of caution because it’s a hamstring injury,” Harris said.
“It’s only 10 days since he suffered the injury and if we bring him back too soon and it goes again then it could be season over for him.
“Nat’s had the bit between his teeth since I’ve come in to the club because he’s desperate to settle down and play some games.
“We have a lot of games coming up between now and the end of the season and I can’t afford to take a gamble and for it to go wrong.”
Jarvis’ absence means that City will be unable to field a strikeforce of former Saints strikers tonight, with Charlie Griffin now likely to be partnered by loan striker Connor Waldon.
The Swindon Town striker signs off from his three-month loan tonight, as does Bristol Rovers midfielder Jordan Goddard – two players who were on the scoresheet in Lincolnshire on Saturday.
Harris has already brought Cheltenham Town midfielder Joe Hanks in on loan to cover Goddard’s departure, although he is back on the hunt for midfield reinforcements following Darren Mullings’ move to Oxford City.
Will Morford is set to be recalled from his loan stint at Cirencester Town to cover Waldon’s departure as City look to maintain the attacking impetus shown since Harris took over.
Two wins in three games, an unbeaten record and seven strikes in the goals-for column have given Harris and the Tigers fans reasons for optimism.
But the City boss knows that, after banging home three goals at Northolme on Saturday, three points should have been taken.
“When you score three times away from home you should be taking the points, but we have hit seven goals in three games and that’s pleasing,” he said.
“We can’t be too downhearted about the result and now we have to move on and try and build on the positives in what will be a tough game at Brackley.”
Defender Mike Green is struggling with a knee injury, so former Aston Villa trainee Matt Roome is set for his first senior start after impressing in last week’s County Cup defeat to Cheltenham Town.
* The Football Conference have confirmed that Oxford City have been deducted three points for fielding an ineligible player.