Luke Guttridge is in line for a recall to the Cobblers’ starting line-up for the visit of Bristol Rovers to Sixfields on Tuesday night (7.45pm kick-off).
The midfielder’s ongoing absence from the first team has been cited by manager Aidy Boothroyd as proof that a squad assembled with quality in mind is now gradually growing in terms of quantity.
Guttridge has been on the bench for the past two matches, the draw at AFC Wimbledon and the win over Plymouth Argyle, and has failed to come on for even a brief cameo in either of them.
But Boothroyd said: “Luke is fine physically but I don’t think he has been in the form he was in before he got injured.
“He is a terrific player and it shows you the quality of Lewis Hornby and his recent performances that I didn’t think I could leave him out.
“Luke will get back in that team at some point or another because he is so determined or tenacious to do so.
“When you leave a player of Luke Guttridge’s quality out it says to the rest of the squad that nobody is safe and that everybody must perform at all times.”
Another performance will be required on Tuesday night to defeat a Rovers side who have lost just one of their past seven matches.
Joe Widdowson completes his two-game suspension with the match, with Alex Nicholls as the only absentee through injury.
Defender David Artell is back to full fitness after an Achilles injury and was an unused substitute for the Plymouth game and Nana continues to train but will not be considered for selection at this stage.
“With every different team comes a different problem to solve and Luke will be involved tomorrow,” he said.
“He doesn’t need to worry about being out of the side, he needs to keep focused and that is the case with any player who finds himself out of the side.
“It isn’t about an individual, it’s about the team.”