Cobblers right-back Brendan Moloney has been ruled out of the final game of the season at Portsmouth on Saturday, and will now undergo an operation on his troublesome knee injury.
The Irishman, who has been a key member of the Town team since returning from a knee problem in November, has missed the past three matches as the injury has returned.
The problem is with the same knee that saw Moloney sidelined earlier in the campaign, and manager Chris Wilder has revealed the 27-year-old will now go under the knife to ensure he is fit and ready for the beginning of pre-season training.
“Brendan is out now,” confirmed Wilder. “He will have a minor operation on his knee to tidy that up and make sure he is right for pre-season.”
Wilder was left hugely frustrated last summer when Moloney returned for pre-season after it had been decided to rest a knee niggle rather than operate, and then the player was forced to have an operation in July.
That meant Moloney missed pre-season and the first three months of the season, and Wilder said: “We can’t have what happened last year.
“We have spoken to the medical staff and we have have talked to the players, and made it clear that anybody who needs operations that they have to have them.
“We have to make sure they are right and ready for pre-season, as while Josh (Lelan) and Darnell (Furlong) did really well for us, Brendan has been outstanding.”
Also unlikely to feature at Fratton Park is Rod McDonald, who suffered a calf/Achilles strain in training last week, while Joel Byrom is struggling with a stiff back.
“We will have a look at Rod, but I thought Pross (Luke Prosser) did really well when he came in, and Joel’s back stiffened up, so we will look at him,” said Wilder.
“Rod has a sore calf and Achilles, and it got worse during the week. He had a fitness test on Friday and failed that and we will see how he is, and if he trains we will make a decision on him.
“But I don’t think there are going to be many changes for Saturday.”