ANDY HOLDSWORTH has suffered a setback in his bid to make Saturday's League I home clash with Brighton.
The 22-year-old defender had hoped to prove his recovery from an ankle injury in tonight's Reserve match at Sheffield Wednesday.
But he suffered a reaction to a training-ground work-out yesterday and has been ruled out of the Pontin's Holidays League Cup clash at Hillsborough (7.00).
He was at the Galpharm for further treatment from physio Lee Martin today, and is unlikely to be back in training until Thursday at the earliest.
That could swing the selection scales towards Aaron Hardy, who made an impressive league debut at right-back when Town won 2-1 at Port Vale on Saturday.
The win lifted Town to sixth in the table, and manager Peter Jackson said: "I was pleased with the entire back four, but especially Azza and John McCombe, who came in for Nathan Clarke.
"Like John, Azza has had to be patient, and he has taken his chance really well."
With Holdsworth suffering his injury in training eight days ago, Hardy made only his second first-team appearance in the 2-1 home defeat by Doncaster in the first round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy last Tuesday.
The 20-year-old retained his place at Vale Park after Holdsworth failed a fitness test on Friday afternoon.
Now he is in line for a home league bow against 18th-placed Brighton, and Jackson said: "I would have no worries.