Try-scoring centre James Roberts and back-rower Paul Carter will play but Gold Coast winger Anthony Don will miss the NRL match with North Queensland.

It’s been two steps forward and one back for a Gold Coast outfit desperate to stay in the NRL finals hunt in Townsville on Saturday night.

Speedy centre James Roberts has overcome a hip problem and rising back-rower Paul Carter has shrugged off a foot gash to line up against North Queensland at 1300Smiles Stadium.

But a virus, which swept through the Titans’ camp earlier this week, has accounted for winger Anthony Don which has forced another backline change by coach John Cartwright.

Regular centre Brad Tighe will start out wide against a resurgent Cowboys side that will welcome back co-captain Matt Scott from his State of Origin cheekbone injury.

Roberts’ availability is a key boost for the Titans as the former Penrith danger man has scored four tries and made five line breaks from just 41 runs in six games.

Cartwright wants Roberts and converted left centre Dave Taylor to both get their hands on the ball more to wreak havoc in the must-win match for the 13th-placed Titans.

“It’s a huge game in the scheme of the competition,” Cartwright said.

Coming off two vital away wins, the Cowboys have jumped into seventh spot and are looking dangerous with four of their last six games to be played at home.

“We’re not getting ahead of ourselves,” Scott warned. “This time of the year is when you have to be playing your best footy.

“We have improved but we want to continue the momentum.”

While unsure of his match fitness, Scott is confident his cheekbone is ready for the hammering expected.

“They will obviously test me, they are very good through the middle of the ruck and that’s how they play so I’m fairly certain I will have a fair bit of work to do,” he said.

In moving Matt Wright into the centres to mark up against Taylor, the Cowboys have set the stage for Tautau Moga to do some damage on their right wing.

“He’s a great attacking weapon,” Scott said. “His hands are like a bunch of bananas; they are massive so we hope to use him in the air.

“He’s a big unit and has a fair jump on him.”