Cobblers boss Rob Page is backing Aaron Phillips to fill the void left by Brendan Moloney’s long-term injury.
Right-back Moloney is set to be out of action until February after undergoing a knee operation, and Page admits it is a blow to lose one of Town’s most consistently good performers so far this season.
But the Cobblers boss also has a lot of faith in Phillips, his first signing for the club when he landed him from Coventry City in May, and is backing the 23-year-old to make the most of his chance to shine in an extended run in the first team.
“I think there is more to come from Aaron, and I think he is just as good as Dave Buchanan at one-on-one defending,” said Page
“Going forward, Aaron likes to do that as well, and the way we play isn’t going to change.
“I do like my full-backs to get forward and he will certainly do that, but it is about picking times when to go forward, knowing we have good possession to get forward and give us that width.
“It’s also knowing when to err on the side of caution as well because full-backs are defenders first and foremost and are there to stop the ball going into the goal.
“So it is about getting that balance right with Aaron, but he will get there and I thought he played well against Bolton.”
Against Bolton, Phillips was handed his first league start for Town since the 0-0 draw with AFC Wimbledon on August 20 and acquitted himself well, but it is still a blow to the team to lose Moloney, who has been outstanding this season.
“Of course it’s a blow,” admitted Page, when asked about Moloney.
“I threw him in at the deep end against West Brom in his first game back earlier in the season, and he was exceptional.
“Scunthorpe away was another one of his better games again, and he gives you that attacking option, and when he drives forward with the ball it is great to watch.
“So of course he will be missed, but it gives Aaron a chance.”