David Artell is set for a recall to the first-team squad for Saturday’s game against Burton Albion at Sixfields (3pm kick-off).
But fellow defender John Johnson, who has also spent several weeks out through injury, will not be considered for selection.
Artell has made a complete recovery from an Achilles injury that has kept him out of action since October 9.
The centre-back will provide significant competition for places for a defence that leaked three goals on its last outing, the 3-0 loss at Chesterfield, as well as providing manager Aidy Boothroyd with the option of playing a five-man defence.
Artell is also a threat when attacking set-pieces, a fact illustrated by his four goals so far this season, which is already more than he notched for Crewe Alexandra last term.
But Boothroyd will take a more cautious approach with Johnson, who has had two knee operations this season and whose comeback from the first was aborted in November.
“Ideally I would like them both to play in a reserves game but at the moment I might have to use the games to get them fit if I need them,” said Boothroyd, who allowed Anthony Charles to leave the club this week.
“Dave Artell will come into contention for Saturday and be on the bench at least and Johnno is still not quite right yet so we’ll take our time with him.”