After a disappointing start to his Cobblers career, full-back Reece Hall-Johnson has returned from injury with ‘renewed vigour’, according to manager Keith Curle.
Hall-Johnson, a summer signing from Grimsby, started the season as Town’s undisputed right-back but put in a couple of shaky performances in their first two games against Walsall and Port Vale.
An injury in training then ruled him out for nearly two months and with Curle signing Michael Harriman on a free transfer in the meantime, he returned to full fitness with his place in doubt.
However, the 24-year-old produced an admirable display at centre-back in the absence of captain Charlie Goode against Leyton Orient before starring with a man of the match performance at Cambridge United in last week’s EFL Trophy clash.
Hall-Johnson then got the nod ahead of Harriman at Scunthorpe United on Saturday and although the Cobblers were heavily beaten at Glanford Park, he was the pick of an admittedly below-par back four.
“Being honest, Reece came in and did very well in pre-season but stuttered at the start of the season, maybe that was nerves, pressure or familiarising himself with the new environment,” said Curle.
“He didn’t do as well as what I expected and also what he expected. He then had the injury but he’s managed to come back from it very well.
“The initial diagnoses was that he would be out for two and a half or three months but he came back well ahead of schedule and he’s come back with renewed vigour and a good focus about him.
“He’s got a good understanding of where he needs to be, which is pleasing, and the other thing is he does have that adaptability - he can play centre-back or he can play in either of the full-back positions.”