ALEX Pritchard is not necessarily guaranteed an automatic place in the Swindon Town line-up when he returns from suspension for tomorrow’s trip to Carlisle United.

The tricky midfielder, who has completed a three-match ban incurred by the red card he picked up at Bristol City last month, will be involved in manager Mark Cooper’s matchday squad at Brunton Park.

However, Cooper remained coy when questioned about the Tottenham loanee’s return, stressing that it would be hard for anyone to oust Town’s in-form players from their starting berths.

“Alex gives us something a little bit different. He’s a little unorthodox in the way he plays, a little bit of a throw-back, jinky wide player and we know with Alex that at any time of the game he can create something out of nothing for us,” he said.

“It’s another good player back in the squad.

“What it does do is create competition. The players who are in the team at the minute are thinking ‘Pritch is back this week, I’ve got to make sure I run about and give everything I’ve got otherwise Pritch is going to come back in the team’.

“I think the players are comfortable in that they know that if they’re doing the business they’re going to stay in the team.”

Meanwhile, Cooper reiterated that Nile Ranger will definitely not be fit enough to play any part for Town for the remainder of the season, despite reports of his enthusiastic celebration of Louis Thompson’s late winning goal against Sheffield United last weekend.

When asked whether there was any chance he would recover before the end of the term, Cooper told the Advertiser: “None whatsoever. We’ve just got to make sure he’s right for pre-season.”

Ryan Mason, meanwhile, continues his rehabilitation from an ankle operation at Spurs.

Cooper added: “There’s no immediate plans for him to come back and join us at the moment.”