Cobblers boss Dean Austin is delighted to see Aaron Phillips back out on the training pitches after the right-back suffered ‘a horrific’ 10 months with serious injury.
The former Coventry City man suffered a thigh injury during the Cobblers’ 4-1 defeat at Charlton Athletic last August, and hasn’t played since.
He had to undergo two operations during last season, one after the initial injury and then another as he broke down and suffered the same injury again when on the bring of full fitness early in 2018.
Phillips has not as yet been offered a new contract to extend his stay at Sixfields, with manager Dean Austin not even having seen him play, but the Town boss has invited the player in for pre-season training.
The 24-year-old returned for duty last Monday with the rest of the Town squad, and will now have the chance to try and show Austin what he is all about, and the Cobblers manager admits he has been delighted with what he has seen so far.
“Aaron has returned, so he is going to do some training with us to see if I can get a look at him,” said Austin.
It is lovely to see him back out on the grass and running around. He doesn’t look any different to any of the other players, he doesn’t look out of shape, he doesn’t look rusty with the ball, so I am really pleased just to see him out there workingCobblers boss Dean Austin
“To be honest, my lads are all good people, and I although I am a hard taskmaster, I know what I want and I won’t pull any punches when it comes to how I want to go about things, I am also about people, and treating people right with their after care.
“Aaron is a fantastic young lad, and he had a horrific trot last year with his two operations.
“I said to him, ‘look, we are not in a position to offer you anything because I haven’t seen you play’.
“But I added ‘you are more than welcome to come back here and train with us in pre-season, see how things go, and let’s take it day by day’.
“Aaron is more than happy to come and do that, and he is a good lad and he is working well.”
With Brendan Moloney having left the club, Austin will be looking for a right-back to bolster his squad and provide competition for Shay Facey, and it could be that Phillips is offered that opportunity, providing he proves his fitness.
“It is lovely to see him back out on the grass and running around and what have you,” said the Town boss.
“He doesn’t look any different to any of the other players, he doesn’t look out of shape, he doesn’t look rusty with the ball, so I am really pleased just to see him out there working.”
The Cobblers are back training at Moulton College on Monday morning, and will train there tomorrow as well ahead of their Tuesday night friendly at UCL outfit Sileby Rangers.
The match kicks-off at7.45pm Fernie Fields, and of course clashes with England’s World Cup last-16 clash with Colombia.
Sileby did consider moving the kick-off time to Tuesday afternoon to avoid clashing with the England match, but it was impossible as players and club staff would be unavailable due to work commitments.
England’s match against Colombia will be shown in Sileby clubhouse, with kick-off being 7pm.
The match is new Sileby boss Mitch Austin’s first in charge of the Moulton club, with Austin having joined after leaving his assistant manager role at Kettering Town in the summer.
Tickets are priced at £6 adults and £3 concessions.