David Artell will make his first Cobblers appearance in more than nine months when he lines up in the team that plays Cogenhoe United in a friendly on Tuesday night (7.45pm kick-off).
The centre-back missed the final quarter of 2012 with an Achilles injury and, after returning to fitness, was loaned at to Wrexham, for whom he made 11 appearances.
Artell is expected to play in the game at Compton Park, the club’s second against United Counties League opposition in four days, alongside trialist Darren Purse.
Manager Aidy Boothroyd’s need for an extra player in the heart of defence is likely to have gone up a notch with the news that skipper Kelvin Langmead has got to see a specialist about the knee injury that kept him out of the final stages of last season.
Clarke Carlisle’s retirement and Nathan Cameron’s decision to join Bury mean that Artell is the only out-and-out centre-half on the books, although Ben Tozer is a competent option in that area.
The situation may lead to Boothroyd taking a more closer look at Purse, a player who has offers elsewhere but lives locally and would bring a wealth of experience to the back line.
Three other players looking to win a Town contract will also get another chance to impress at Cogenhoe - striker JJ Hooper (who scored a hat-trick in the 5-1 win at Sileby Rangers on Saturday), winger Lateef Elford-Alliyu (who also scored) and central midfielder Gary Deegan.
Striker Clive Platt and winger Chris Hackett continue to train away from the main group of players due to niggling injuries and are unlikely to feature in the game.
Second-year scholars Connor Robers and Tyler Reeve are likely to travel with the squad again to provide defensive options from the bench.
Admission prices at Cogenhoe are adults £6 and seniors/juniors £3.