O’Donovan says Northampton will be boosted by returning stars

CLOSING IN ON A RETURN - Cobblers skipper Kelvin Langmead joined in the pre-match warm-up at Port Vale on Saturday (Picture: Kelly Cooper)
CLOSING IN ON A RETURN - Cobblers skipper Kelvin Langmead joined in the pre-match warm-up at Port Vale on Saturday (Picture: Kelly Cooper)
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Roy O’Donovan believes the return to fitness of the Cobblers’ more senior players will be crucial to the team’s chances of winning promotion through the npower League Two play-offs.

The Irishman scored a superb goal for Town in the 2-2 draw at Port Vale that confirms their place in the division’s top seven.

It was a result achieved without club captain Kelvin Langmead, leading goalscorer Adebayo Akinfenwa, veteran striker Clive Platt and first-choice left-back Joe Widdowson all not featuring due to injury.

But all four - along with the unpredictable but talented Ishmel Demontagnac - could be fit for the Barnet game at Sixfields on Saturday, or possibly the semi-final first leg the following Thursday night.

“I thought we were very solid in the Port Vale game and very good on the counter-attack,” said O’Donovan, who lined up on the left wing with 18-year-old David Moyo, who only signed a professional contract in February, down the centre.

“Our away form has improved tenfold from the game at Rotherham, obviously we haven’t won as many as we would have liked but our performances have been good enough to get wins.

“We’ve lost big players at the wrong time and that’s what has killed us, not having the experience of players like Platty (Clive Platt) and (Kelvin) Langmead but there are pros and cons because that has made us a tight squad.

“They will be back for the play-offs and we’ll have a strong squad now so we’re looking forward to it.”

O’Donovan’s strike was a contender for goal of the season, an effort that curled away from the goalkeeper after a neat turn on the edge of the box.

But the striker was not concerned with the style of the goal and instead chose to focus on the substance it generated for his club.

“I’ve scored a few good ones,” he said. “But this was an important one for our season because it’s got us into the play-offs.

“I was very happy with it. It was the first time in the game that I had a bit of space and it was pleasing to score at that end so I could celebrate with our fans.”