Sam Hoskins and John-Joe O’Toole could be in line for first team returns when the Cobblers travel to Portsmouth in the Checkatrade Trophy on Saturday.
Attacker Hoskins hasn’t played since injuring a hamstring in the 0-0 FA Cup draw with Scunthorpe United at the beginning of the month, while midfielder O’Toole damaged his ankle in the 3-0 Sky Bet League One defeat to the same opponents 10 days ago.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday morning, Town boss jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink revealed both players are nearing returns to match action, and that he is intending to field a full strength first team for the trip to Fratton Park.
To date this season, the Checkatrade Trophy has been used to rotate the Cobblers squad and give players on the fringes some match action, but the fact it has been switched from midweek to a Saturday means Hasselbaink won’t be tinkering.
“It’s on a Saturday, and thankfully not a Tuesday, so we can approach this game in the right way,” said the Cobblers boss ahead of the second round, knockout tie.
“We don’t have to juggle around with players in any way, and certain players are coming back that I can use, and put in.
“So we are looking to put a strong squad out, because we are going to try to go through.”
When asked which players are coming back, Hasselbaink said: “Sam Hoskins is back, and we are going to have a look at JJ. He will start running from today or tomorrow.”
Daniel Powell is also close to a return after he suffered a hamstring strain in the 2-1 win at Oxford on November 11, while the likes of Aaron Pierre and Aaron Phillips are progressing but this weekend may be too soon.
One player who definitely won’t feature for the next few weeks is striker Alex Revell, who has not been involved in any first team squad since the 6-0 defeat to Bristol Rovers way back on October 7.
The former MK Dons striker was sent off in that match, and while serving his three-match ban, he then injured his groin in training.
After slow progress on the player recovering from that injury, it was decided he should undergo an operation, which he did two weeks ago.
“Alex had an operation on his groin,” said the Cobblers boss.
“The technical part, don’t ask me about! But it is now two weeks, and he has to go to the doctor on Monday to get the all clear so he can start running.
“If everything goes well, then he should be joining in with the group in 10 days.”