Aidy Boothroyd says he ‘took one for the team’ by not selecting Chris Hackett in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Exeter City to avoid losing the player for the Cobblers’ run-in.
Boothroyd left the influential winger out of Tuesday’s win over Bristol Rovers but restored him to the substitutes bench at St James’ Park.
Hackett, though, did not make it off the bench with concerns remaining over a recent injury the player has had.
The Cobblers boss felt it would be better to not use Hackett at Exeter at all rather than introduce him and risk aggravating his injury for the final 10 games of the season.
“I spoke to Chris on Thursday and he was as keen as mustard to play and that he wanted to play through it (the injury),” he said.
“He had an issue behind his knee and at the top of his calf and I spoke to Stuart (Barker, club physio) and he said he could play through it.
“I then asked him if Chris would damage it further if he did and he said he would, then when I saw the pitch here I decided to put him on the bench.
“I was looking around at him with half an hour to go but I had to take one for the team and not put him on.
“I think in the final 10 games he’s going to be crucial for us and I didn’t want to lose one of our best players for any of those games.
“He will be back and he will play on Saturday against Accrington.”