When Neal Eardley signed for the Cobblers in the second week of January, he immediately became the only fit right-back in the squad.
A month later and just four games into his Town career, the former Blackpool and Oldham Athletic man is about to face a three-way fight for the position.
I think it will be an inspiration for all three of us, as it is good to have that competitionCobblers right-back Neal Eardley
That’s because Aaron Phillips has now recovered from the hamstring strain that led to the club bringing in Eardley in the first place, with Brendan Moloney having been sidelined since November after undergoing a knee operation.
But the Irishman is now seemingly only a matter of days away from also being available again, and suddenly the right-back position is arguably the most hotly-conested in the squad.
Eardley says he welcomes the competition, but hopes he has done enough to keep his place in the team as Chesterfield come to Sixfields on Saturday (ko 3pm).
“I have always been one to believe that if you play at the weekend, then it is up to you to keep the jersey,” said the 28-year-old, who has won 16 international caps for Wales.
“Not only that, you have to then perform well and work hard through the week in training as well to ensure you are playing again the following game. That is all I will be trying to do.”
So will there be an extra intensity to training once Moloney is available to try and win his shirt back?
“I think it will be an inspiration for all three of us, as it is good to have that competition,” said Eardley.
“I know Bren picked up an injury, but prior to that he was performing really well, and I am under no illusions it is going to be difficult to keep the place.
“But, as I am sure Bren and Aaron would say too, we are all going to be training hard, we all want to be playing, and whichever one of us it is that is playing come a Saturday or Tuesday, I am sure the other two will be desperate to get on as well.
“I think it is a good thing to have the competition, and that’s all over the pitch.
“It’s all about having a strong squad with the games coming up Saturday-Tuesday, and it’s crucial we all try and stay fit and push each other on.”
Eardley is well aware of the importance of the next few days, with the clash against second-from-bottom Chesterfield followed by another home game next Tuesday against fifth-bottom Swindon Town.
“Every game we approach, we always try to get the three points, and these two games will be no different,” he said.
“We will prepare right and hopefully get the right results.
“Obviously we all understand that they are two teams in and around us, so you could maybe look at the games as six-pointers, but we all know what the games are about, and we all know what we need to do.
“Whatever is asked of us by the gaffer we will do, and hopefully we will get the right results.”