Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is hopeful of having Daniel Powell and Shaun McWilliams back in the frame for next Saturday’s Sky Bet League One clash at Oldham Athletic - but is concerned John-Joe O’Toole may not be fit.
McWilliams missed out on Saturday’s trip to Portsmouth with a slight groin strain, while Powell (hamstring) and O’Toole (ankle) have been missing for a number of weeks.
Winger Powell hasn’t played since the 2-1 win over Oxford on November 11 - the last time the Cobblers won - and O’Toole has been missing since the league one defeat to Scunthorpe two weeks later.
All three are key players for Town, and Hasselbaink gave an update on their chances of being fit to take on the Latics, who suffered a 2-0 league one loss at Southend United on Saturday.
“Shaun should be coming back,” said the Cobblers boss. “John-Joe is running, but I don’t know if he needs a little bit longer, and Daniel will be close.
“We are missing Daniel, because of his work-rate, and if we can get him back, then that would be a big plus.”
Chris Long was taken off at half-time at Fratton Park with an ankle sprain, but he was walking freely afterwards and is expected to be okay for the trip to Boundary Park.
It is a game that is a big one for the Cobblers, who go into it in the relegation zone, but knowing they can move to within one point of 18th-placed Oldham with a win.
Town’s loss in the Checkatrade Trophy second round on Saturday means they are out of all the cups for the season, and Hasselbaink feels that may be good for his team.
“The league is the only thing we can concentrate on, and it hopefully will help us now as there is only one thing to think about,” he saaid.
“The objective is to go to Oldham and get something.
“They are a good side, they score a lot, but they also give you opportunities and we want to try and materialise on the opportunities.”