Cobblers defender David Artell will miss a further two to three weeks of first-team action with an Achilles injury that has kept him out since October.
The club have received advice from a specialist not to play the central defender, who was not on the substitutes bench at Gillingham and who will miss a return to his boyhood club Rotherham United this weekend.
“There is no issue with his injury, we sent him to a specialist to make sure it is 100 per cent healed,” said manager Aidy Boothroyd, who did welcome John Johnson back to the matchday squad for the game at Priestfield.
“The advice from the specialist was that he needs another two or three weeks before it is fully healed before he can crack on and play.
“He looked inside and made sure it was all okay, which it is, but that was the diagnosis and that’s what we go by.”
Artell was unlikely to start the game against Rotherham, where he was born, with Boothroyd unlikely to make many changes from the 11 that has played the past two matches.
That side won at Aldershot but was beaten at Gillingham to slip back to fourth in the npower League Two table, and Boothroyd is aware of the need for a response at Rotherham, who could overtake the Cobblers with a victory.
“Rotherham play slightly differently to the past two teams we have played, they are quite narrow in midfield and they use a diamond,” he said.
“What you know about them is that they will come flying out of the traps for the first 20 minutes of the game, and their record suggests that if they get on top in that period they do quite well.
“But there have been one or two results there which have not gone so well and hopefully we can be in that group that causes an upset.”
Tuesday night’s loss at Gillingham was a setback of sorts but Boothroyd was pleased generally with his team’s performance.
Although their attacking threat petered out in the second half, he felt they did enough in the first 45 minutes to ensure confidence should be high for the weekend game.
“I thought we actually played better against Gillingham than we did against Aldershot but we didn’t take our chances,” said the Cobblers boss.
“We had 12 chances and didn’t score any of them - although people will say it’s all about taking you’re chances, and they’re right, if you are getting that many chances generally it means you will do well, and get results.”