Hasselbaink hopeful but unsure over injuries to O’Toole and Hoskins

Sam Hoskins limped off after 71 minutes on Saturday. Pictures: Sharon Lucey
Sam Hoskins limped off after 71 minutes on Saturday. Pictures: Sharon Lucey
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The severity of the injuries sustained by John-Joe O’Toole and Sam Hoskins will be assessed this week after the Cobblers duo were prematurely forced off in Saturday’s goalless draw with Scunthorpe United.

O’Toole appeared to pick up some kind of leg injury midway through the first-half and despite being given ample time to run it off, the midfielder remained visibly uncomfortable and was eventually taken off shortly after the restart.

O’Toole’s loss was then compounded by the enforced withdrawal of Hoskins on 71 minutes, as Saturday’s FA Cup first round tie ended goalless.

The duo have only just returned from long-term injuries, and manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink will be desperately hoping neither are out for an extended period of time given their importance and the fact his side are now set to play six games in 18 days.

Asked about the duo, he said: “John-Joe was a focal point for us. We could play off him and he brought some physicality and trouble for their defence.

“I don’t know what the problem was with him but he couldn’t carry on, and there must be something going on with Sam otherwise he wouldn’t have wanted to come off, so we’ll assess that.

He played a little bit more in central midfield where he’s more comfortable but my expectation of him is a lot more.

“Hopefully it’s not that serious and he will be ready for Saturday (against Oxford).”

On the plus side, Lewis McGugan was the game’s outstanding performer as he completed his first 90 minutes in Cobblers colours after signing for the club on a free transfer last month.

The midfielder caused Scunthorpe numerous problems with his dangerous set-piece delivery, clattering the woodwork on one occasion, as he started in a midfield two alongside Regan Poole.

There was also a rare start for David Cornell in goal with first-choice goalkeeper Matt Ingram refused permission to play by parent club Queens Park Rangers.

“Cornell played well in goal and Lewis did well for his second start,” added Hasselbaink. “He played a little bit more in central midfield where he’s more comfortable but my expectation of him is a lot more.

“Hopefully, this is just the start of what he can do and what he can being to us.”