Cobblers have been handed a boost with the news midfielder Matt Crooks will be fit to face former club Scunthorpe United on Saturday - but Town’s other former Iron player Kevin van Veen has only a 50/50 chance of making the trip to Glanford Park.
The Dutchman picked up a dead leg and suffered a knock to his knee in last Saturday’s 3-1 Sky Bet League One win at AFC Wimbledon and is facing a race against time to be fit to face the club he only left last month.
Boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink will give the striker every chance to shake off his injury, but there is not such good news on right-back Shay Facey, who definitely misses out with his hamstring strain.
The return of Crooks will be a big boost for Town, as he was sorely missed in Tuesday night’s 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Gillingham.
The former Rangers man was named on the bench but not used, and Hasselbaink says he didn’t wany to run the risk of the player suffering an injury that may have seen him ruled out for weeks.
“Matt Crooks will be back,” said Hasselbaink in Thursday morning’s press conference, who went on to explain the recent problems the 23-year-old has been suffering from.
“He has been struggling a little bit with his hamstring, and from Saturday-to-Saturday games he is fine.
“He needs a little bit more recovery time, and it would have been a big risk to play him on Tuesday.
“We might have ended up losing him for four weeks or whatever, and it wasn’t right to take that risk, but he will be okay for Saturday.”
On van Veen’s chances, Hasselbaink said: “Kevin is 50/50, as he got a dead leg against Wimbledon and also his knee flared up a little bit.
“The swelling has gone down, so let’s see what the next 48 hours brings.”
Facey hasn’t played since injuring his hamstring the first half of the 1-0 defeat to Rochdale on February 3, and although Hasselbaink was hoping he would be fully fit by now, that is not the case.
“Shay’s not fit, not yet, and it will be another week I think,” said Hasselbaink. “He is training, but individually.”
The Cobblers will also be without winger Hildeberto Pereira on Saturday, as he has been handed a one-match ban following his sending off after the final whistle on Tuesday night.
Pereira picked up a yellow card for dissent in stoppage time as he argued with referee Charles Breakspear over the award of a corner to Gillingham, and then received a second yellow after the match had ended as he continued to protest with Breakspear.
It was a sour end to a bad night for the Cobblers, and Hasselbaink revealed he has yet to speak to the Legia Warsaw loan man, but he will do so.
“I have not had a word yet,” said the Town boss. “I had to let him cool down, and I had to let myself cool down, and in due time I will sit down with him and talk with him.”