Cobblers supporters will get their first opportunity to see new signings Darren Carter and Ian Morris in action on Saturday, when the team play a friendly match at United Counties League side Sileby Rangers.
Sileby, who won the UCL first division title last season, will provide the opposition in Town’s first visit to Fernie Fields and their first domestic warm-up game of the summer (3pm kick-off).
Kelvin Langmead is likely to miss out as he continues to rebuild fitness after a knee operation at the end of last season, while the club will be treading carefully with Clive Platt and Chris Hackett, who also ended last term with injuries.
“Kelvin, Clive and Chris Hackett were the injured group we took with us (to Croatia) and Dave Artell spent some time with them and some time with the main group because we want to make sure he’s right,” said Aidy Boothroyd, who will also pad out his squad at Sileby with a selection of trialists.
“Clive is a different animal because of his age and I want to be in a position where we’re easing him in so he’s not been doing anything daft in pre-season.
“I want him ready to play in all 46 games.
“I have to stop Chris and Kelvin because they love training; because of the size of the squad we want to get them ready for when we start.”
Ben Tozer and Lee Collins sat out a couple of sessions in Croatia with fatigue but are expected to play, as Boothroyd looks to get an hour of football into the bulk of his first-team players.
“It will depend how the next few days of training go but the plan is to build it up to 60 minutes for both games,” he said.
“We’re trying to organise another midweek friendly as well to give us six games and we’ll look to be getting 90 into people by the time we’re playing Leicester and Peterborough.”
But while Saturday’s game will primarily be about building fitness, Boothroyd does want to start looking at how certain players will fit into the first-team jigsaw.
“I do want to start looking at combinations and how certain people work together,” he said.
“I want to see how Ian Morris fits into central midfield and wide midfield, I want to look at how he works with Joe and how Ish works with Joe, or Ish on the right in front of Ben, there’s lots of different things.
“It’s all preparation for the season and seeing who can play where when you have a few injuries.”
Supporters can pay on the gate at Sileby Rangers, with tickets priced at £5 for adults and £2.50 for concessions. The ground must be accessed from the Talavera Way entrance, and not through the residential area close to the Lumbertubs pub.