Cobblers boss Hasselbaink delighted after Hoskins makes long-awaited return

Eyes on the ball: Sam Hoskins was back in Cobblers claret on Saturday. Pictures by Kirsty Edmonds
Eyes on the ball: Sam Hoskins was back in Cobblers claret on Saturday. Pictures by Kirsty Edmonds

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has revealed how he plans to use Sam Hoskins this season after welcoming the young forward back from his serious knee injury.

The 24-year-old missed nine months of action after picking up an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury in training last January, just days after Justin Edinburgh was appointed.

That ruled him out for the rest of last season and the start of this but, finally, he returned to the pitch when introduced as a 75th minute substitute in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat against Bradford City.

Hoskins, who was on course to be one of Town’s players of the year before his injury last term, played mostly on the left but drifted inside as he showed few neat touches in a promising cameo.

“It’s very good to have him back because I can use him as a striker or as a wide player,” said Hasselbaink.

“He’s quick and we need that pace, which is what we are lacking a little bit.

“But we also need to be very careful with him. He’s coming back from a long-term injury and I gave him 15 minutes on Saturday and now we need to build him up slowly.

“But I’m very pleased that he’s back.”

Despite having a variety of forward options at his disposal, Hasselbaink says he only has ‘three strikers’ – Marc Richards, Alex Revell and Chris Long – to pick from with the Town manager seemingly keen to use the likes of Hoskins and Billy Waters in wider positions

“We have three strikers,” he added. “That’s what we’ve got and that’s what we’re working with and I’m happy with who I have.

I can use him as a striker or as a wide player. He’s quick and we need that pace, which is what we are lacking a little bit.

“We need to stay together and work together and it’s fine at the moment.

“We are in the process of getting better and better, and we’re learning.

“Don’t get me wrong, we need to pick up wins, but we played Wigan, who are one of the favourites, and we played Bradford in the space of a week and in both games we were a little bit unlucky.”