Hasselbaink targeting central defensive signings as Pierre is ruled out for three months

Aaron Pierre is treated by physio Anders Braastad after suffering a thigh injury in the draw with Blackburn Rovers in December
Aaron Pierre is treated by physio Anders Braastad after suffering a thigh injury in the draw with Blackburn Rovers in December

The Cobblers have been dealt an injury blow with the news that central defender Aaron Pierre is to be out of action until at least mid-April after undergoing an operation on his thigh.

Pierre suffered the injury in the 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers just before Christmas, and yesterday underwent an operation that will see him sidelined for at least the next three months.

You have to be flexible in this business, and we are trying to get somebody in. There is no hiding behind it, we need centre-halves to come in

Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink also revealed that fellow defender Aaron Phillips has undergone a second operation on his damaged thigh muscle, and will be out for a similar amount of time.

Phillips initially suffered his injury in the loss at Charlton Athletic in August, but he suffered a relapse before Christmas, and has now gone under the knife again.

With Leon Barnett still out with an Achilles problem, it means the Cobblers only have two fit central defenders in Ash Taylor and Regan Poole, and Hasselbaink has confirmed he will be strengthening that area in the January transfer window.

“We are going to lose Aaron Pierre for most of the season,” said the Cobblers boss.

“He isn’t going to be back until mid-April, and he has the same injury as Aaron Phillips.

“Aaron Pierre was operated on yesterday, because unfortunately the muscle came off the bone, and for Phillips it is the second time with the same muscle.”

Talking about Pierre, Hasselbaink added: “It is a big blow because he was getting himself into it, he was playing really well against Blackburn, and he was grasping what we wanted from him.

“He was also getting used to playing in league one.

“He is a big unit, he is strong, and we are going to miss his physicality, but that is why you have squads, that’s why you have more than 11 players, and somebody else will have to fill in.”

Asked if he has had to rethink his recruitment plans for the current transfer window, Hasselbaink said: “Yes, we have to rethink all the time, and we have to adjust.

“That is why you have to be flexible in this business, and we are trying to get somebody in.

“There is no hiding behind it, we need centre-halves to come in.

“As much as we want to score more goals, we also want to have more clean sheets, and at the moment Regan Poole is playing centre-half (alongside Ash Taylor) and he is the only centre-half left.

“Leon Barnett is coming back from injury, so we need more centre-halves in the building and we are trying to do that.

“But it is one of those things. Do we bring one in on loan, or do we try to get one in permanently and then get a striker in on loan?

“I know what I am going to do, but I can’t tell you yet!”

As well as the negatives of the situations involving Pierre, Phillips and Barnett, there is better news regarding the squad’s other injured players.

Daniel Powell, who missed last weekend’s win over Southend United with a hip problem, is set to train with the rest of the first team on Thursday and should be available for the trip to Bradford City on Saturday.

Left-back George Smith suffered a sprained ankle in training last week, and although he may be a doubt for the trip to Valley Parade, he should be fit for the Sixfields date with Milton Keynes Dons a week later.