Duo could return for Boxing Day clash as Hasselbaink prepares Cobblers for ‘fluent’ Doncaster challenge

Matt Ingram will battle David Cornell for the goalkeeper's position
Matt Ingram will battle David Cornell for the goalkeeper's position
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Matt Ingram and Daniel Powell could both make their return to the Cobblers squad for Boxing Day’s clash at the Keepmoat Stadium as manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink readies his players for what will be a ‘different’ test posed by mid-table Doncaster Rovers.

Powell has not featured since November’s win at Oxford United, despite Hasselbaink’s initial positive prognosis, while Ingram injured his shoulder in the goalless draw with Bury and had to return to parent club Queens Park Rangers for treatment.

But both are on the comeback trail and may well be in the squad for Tuesday when the Cobblers head to Doncaster hoping to build on their battling 1-1 draw with high-flying Blackburn Rovers, though defenders Aaron Pierre, off injured on Saturday, and Leon Barnett are sidelined.

“We’re not happy to lose Aaron (Pierre),” said Hasselbaink. “He has a groin problem but hopefully we can see some other faces coming back soon in Alex Revell and Daniel Powell, and Matt Ingram will also be back.

“Leon Barnett might return against Portsmouth but the other two (Revell and Powell) could be earlier.”

Hasselbaink was pleased with the efforts and commitment of his players in their hard-fought and well-deserved 1-1 draw with high-flying Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, but he is now expecting a different kind of test against Doncaster.

Darren Ferguson’s side are eight places but only four points above Northampton in a congested Sky Bet League One table and go into Tuesday’s game on the back of a 1-0 win at Bristol Rovers on Saturday.

“Of course we’ll go there and try to get something out of the game,” added Hasselbaink. “We want to keep this going and hopefully we can.

“We’ll have to play a little bit differently maybe because they play with a different system. They play in a diamond in the midfield so we have to try to stop them playing.

“They’re very fluent and we have to unsettle them in that way and our entries into their back four will have to come from different areas and different players, but I can’t tell you which ones!”