TALENTED defender David Mirfin returns to action tomorrow as manager Peter Jackson celebrates the strengthening of his Town squad at a vital time.

The 18-year-old centre-back will play for the Reserves against Burnley at the McAlpine (2.00) with his sights set on rejoining a buoyant first-team squad.

Wingman John Thorrington is also due to play 90 minutes in the club's first Pontin's Holidays Premier Division fixture for almost a month.

The match is one Jackson will view with interest as Ian Hughes, Adnan Ahmed, Chris Holland and Dwayne Mattis are all in the starting line-up.

"It's great to have lads coming back to fitness after being so stretched on the injury front and it can only be good news after the excellent run we've had," said Jackson, one of a number of managers to inquire about the availability of Stoke City striker Chris Iwelumo.

"We are going to need as many players as possible available for the big games we've got coming up, so to get someone back like Mirfin - who has been out for about five weeks - is especially encouraging for him and for us.

"Everyone knows how highly I rate Mirfin and, with Ian Hughes available as well, it gives us a lot more options than we had when we reverted to a flat back four against Bury the other week.

"I have to say I thought the lads defended superbly in the win against Doncaster, though, and it was a shame we couldn't keep a third straight clean sheet.

"I've watched the match over again on a couple of occasions and it really was a top-notch performance, with every department working well, so our target is now set for the Cambridge match on Saturday.

"At home, we have one of the best defensive records in the League, and yet away from home we have one of the worst. It would be nice to start improving that at the Abbey Stadium because if we keep a clean sheet, I'm sure we will win the match."

Jackson revealed that Efe Sodje went for a neck scan after suffering shoulder problems.

"There doesn't appear to be any trouble, so Efe should be fine for the weekend," he said.

Andy Booth (hamstring) will not be risked in tomorrow's Reserve game while Tony Carss has been ordered to rest for a fortnight after a minor left knee operation yesterday revealed no cartilage damage.

Defender Paul Scott is due for another check on his damaged left ankle later this week.

Town Reserves - Giles, Booty, Mirfin, Hughes, Hardy, Ahmed, Holland, Mattis, Thompson, Onibuje, Thorrington. Subs from Academy.