The lengths Charlie Goode went to in making sure he was fit and available for selection ahead of Saturday’s game against Exeter City say a lot for his commitment to the Cobblers cause and his desperation to not miss a minute of action.
Taken off with a head injury in the closing stages of last weekend’s victory over Crewe Alexandra at Gresty Road, there was initially little concern over his availability to face Exeter.
But after further investigation revealed a broken nose, the 23-year-old endured a long – and extremely painful – few days to get fixed up, sort out protection in the form of a Zorro-like face mark and do everything else possible to ensure he was fighting fit to take to the field on Saturday.
“Obviously I came off at Crewe and had quite a large gash just underneath by eyebrow,” explained the Scunthorpe loanee. “I then found out on Monday morning that I had also broken my nose in two places.
“Monday was a long day. I had it all stitched up and cracked back into place. They offered me general anaesthetic but I thought at the time I’d be the tough man and it was the worst decision I’ve ever made to be honest!
“The doctor told me I wouldn’t feel much but as soon as he put his hands on it I was nearly screaming. I got it done though and my main aim was to be fit and available for the game and when you win like we did, it makes it all worth it!”
As soon as I came off last week – not that I wanted to – I told them I wanted to be fit and ready for the weekend so I’ve done everything I could have done. I’ll do anything to play.
Whilst he says the face mask impacted his performance, there was little sign of it as he delivered another steady and assured performance at right-back, helping Cobblers to a third straight win.
“They told me I have to wear a mask so I’ve been up north and got one fitted to my face,” he continued. “I just about got through the game, it was a hard experience for sure.
“It was painful during the game. I don’t know if you could tell but I tried to keep away from it as much as possible! Obviously Ash (Taylor) was there and he’s dominant in the air and he helped me out a lot.
“I always want to go and win every header, without doubt, but it was hard on Saturday. It’s just your vision with your mask really because it’s hard to see over your left and right shoulder but hopefully the pain will start to settle down.
“I’ve stayed in contact with the gaffer and the medical staff all week. As soon as I came off last week – not that I wanted to – I told them I wanted to be fit and ready for the weekend so I’ve done everything I could have done and luckily it’s paid off.”
And will the mask remain on for the visit of Newport on Tuesday? “The mask will be on, not that I want to wear it! It has to be worn for three or four weeks but I’ve got through the hardest one and hopefully by Tuesday the swelling will have settled down and I’ll be ready to go. I’ll do anything to play.”