Skipper Ash Taylor believes the return of midfielder Matt Crooks from suspension will be a massive boost for the Cobblers as they battle to avoid relegation from Sky Bet League One.
The former Rangers midfielder is available for selection for Good Friday’s Sixfields date with Charlton Athletic (ko 3pm) having served his three-match ban for a third red card of the season at Bristol Rovers earlier in the month.
The 24-year-old has been one of the Cobblers’ most consistent players this season, despite having to serve three different suspensions and also a couple of spells out of the team through injury.
Town will be hoping the ex-Accrington Stanley man can stay both ban and injury free between now and the end of the season, with the Cobblers having just seven games to save themselves from the drop.
“Matt is a robust midfielder who can drive you forward with the ball,” said Taylor.
“He is quite a luxury as well, because he can find a pass and for the size of him he is really comfortable on the ball.
“He drives us on when he runs with it and it opens the play up.
“He has been fantastic for us and it has been a shame obviously that he got sent off to miss a few games, and he has had injuries as well, but it will be good to have him back.”
Asked if he thinks Crooks, who has been sent-off for picking up two yellow cards in matches against Southend United, Walsall and Rovers, needs to calm down while on the pitch, Taylor admitted: “I don’t mind him having a bit of bite to him on the pitch, as long as he keeps it intact a little bit.
“He was unfortunate with the booking I thought this time (at Rovers), and we have missed him.”
The Cobblers return to action on Friday, aiming to get back on track after last weekend’s desperately disappointing 2-0 defeat at relegation rivals Fleetwood Town.
It was a lack-lustre performance that was in stark contrast to the one put in against title-chasing Shrewsbury Town a few days earlier, and Taylor admits it wasn’t a good enough show for the 500-plus fans who made the trip to the north west coast.
“I know what the journey to Fleetwood is like, and they travelled well and were fantastic for us,” said the former Aberdeen man.
“From minute one they were singing all game, and it is very disappointing to send them home unhappy, and we need to give them something to cheer about.
“We need to put on good performances, and show that bit of fight.”