Cobblers boss Rob Page has been handed a triple boost with the return to fitness of attacking trio Sam Hoskins, Alfie Potter and Marc Richards ahead of Sunday’s Sky Bet League One clash with Milton Keynes Dons at Sixfields.
Hoskins and Potter have been unavailable for the past couple of fixtures, while Richards missed Tuesday night’s Checkatrade Trophy defeat to Wycombe Wanderers due to illness.
All three are back in training are available for selection for the Sky Sports-televised match against Karl Robinson’s side on Sunday (ko midday).
On the debit side, Page will be without the suspended John-Joe O’Toole and also central defender Gaby Zakuani, who is on international duty with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
But Page is happy that Hoskins, Potter and Richards are available, saying: “They are fit, and they are training today.
“We have suffered a little bit again, and not to have Sam or Alfie available the other night, not to have Rico after he went down with illness, and then John-Joe to get a knock the day before.
“It was disappointing, but thankfully now, apart from John-Joe who is still suffering a bit with his ankle and is suspended anyway, we have Sam back, we have Alfie back and we are getting back to it.
“Rico is fit and well. He is having his ongoing treatment with regards to his Achilles, but he is over his illness and is back in training.”
O’Toole misses out after picking up a one-match ban for collecting five bookings in the first seven matches of the campaign, and although frustrated to be without one of his key men, Page says the door is now open for whoever replaces him to shine.
“John-Joe’s absence gives somebody else an oportunity,” said the Cobblers boss.
“We have addressed the discipline issue with the lads and picking up silly bookings, and John-Joe is disappointed in himself for picking up five bookings so early on.
“I have had a chat with him and that is something we have to get out of his game, because you need players like John-Joe in and around the team.
“But he can’t play and it gives somebody else the opportunity to come in and take his place, and if he has a good game then that gives me another problem.
“It is disappointing in one aspect, but it gives somebody else the opportunity to go and have a good game.”