THE expected return of a host of key players has boosted Kendal Town as they approach a pivotal week in their battle against relegation.

Caretaker manager Steve Edmondson's side face two vital Evo-Stik West relegation clashes in the space of four days, with Saturday's home clash against fellow strugglers Market Drayton Town being followed closely by next Tuesday's trip to rock bottom Skelmersdale.

And while both represent huge tests of character for a young side, Edmondson said he was boosted by the fact that the injury crisis which had robbed him of a host of key players for last Saturday's game at Colne appeared to be clearing.

Hopes are high key man Sope Awe will be back on Saturday after a fortnight's lay off with an ankle problem, with the likes of Aaron Helliwell and Cory Vickers also expected to be back in contention.

And looking ahead to the back to back six pointers, the Town boss said he was proud of the way his weakened side performed in the 3-1 defeat in East Lancashire and saw firm grounds for optimism as the all important double header looms.

"Considering the fact that we had five players out, I was happy with the way we played at Colne," he said.

"We went 2-0 down but battled back and made it 2-1 and had some good chances to equalise, but as we committed more men forward, they caught us on the break and made it 3-1.

"The Colne manager came over at the end and told me how impressed he was, especially with our level of commitment.

"The spirit in the dressing room is still fantastic though there is a lot of frustration too because the lads realise how close we are to clicking and putting some good results together.

"Saturday and Tuesday are very important games but it's not the end of the world if things don't go for us because anything can happen in football and we will keep battling in every game."

The clash against Market Drayton will hopefully see Town with the psychological edge after they won the return fixture 4-2 three weeks ago in Edmondson's first game since he returned to the helm for a second time.

But the visitors have recruited since that game, with one of the new men being Lewis Macari, grandson of Manchester United legend Lou, who has joined the Gingerbread Men on a loan spell from Stoke City.

Off the field, Kendal Town Independent Supporters' Club said they were still on course for a mid-March meeting with club officials with a view to drawing up plans for the two parties to work together to take the club forward.

However, some elements of the Mintcakes support remain disgruntled with the current regime and it is understood they are planning a further protest against chairman George Gudgeon before Saturday's game.