Cobblers right-back Brendan Moloney is is set to be out of action until February after undergoing surgery on his injured knee.
Boss Rob Page confirmed on Tuesday that the Irishman has had an operation to rectify a problem picked up in the 1-0 derby defeat to Peterborough United.
It had initially been feared Moloney could be sidelined for more than three months, but Page has been told that the player’s time out will be significantly shorter than that.
“Brendan went in and had surgery on Monday on his cartilage, but it is good news if you can say that,” said the Cobblers boss.
“It is not the worst scenario, because at first we were thinking 10 to 12 weeks, but it’s not that bad.
“Hopefully within six to eight weeks we will get him back on the grass and back out on the pitches ready to go.”
Other injury news concerns forward Port Vale loanee JJ Hooper, who has suffered a steback in his recovery from the thigh strain suffered in the 2-1 loss at Gillingham last month.
“JJ Has had a little bit of a setback,” revealed Page. “He went out on the grass last Monday and couldn’t get through the full session, so that is a little bit of a disappointment.
“He wouldn’t have been eligible for the Port Vale game this weekend anyway, so he might be back for the Stourbridge game but we will have to wait and see. We will have contact with the physio at Port Vale and see where we are going with that.”
The Cobblers will go to Vale Park on Saturday having not played for two weeks thanks to Sunday’s postponement of the FA Cup second round clash at non-League Stourbridge.
And although that decision was a frustrating one for Page and his players who were on their way to the match when it was called off less than two hours before kick-off, the Cobblers manager admits it will have been a help for some of his players.
“A couple of the lads had niggles going into Sunday’s game, and it is obviously beneficial that we can give them another six or seven days before the Port Vale game,” he said. “That is going to help them, and help us as a team.”
Meanwhile, central defender Zander Diamond will take his first steps back to full fitness this week after suffering a fractured cheekbone against Posh.
The Scotsman has had an operation and has been recuperating since suffering the injury, but he is set to resume non-contact training this week.
“Zander is doing really well and he will be back in training with us on Thursday,” said Page.
“He can’t have contact yet, but it is good that he can keep his fitness up.”