Boss Chris Wilder is hoping Ricky Holmes will be back playing in a Cobblers shirt by December.
The former Portsmouth winger has been sidelined virtually all season, having suffered a back spasm in the warm-up ahead of the 2-0 Sky Bet League Two defeat at Barnet on August 18.
It has been a long road back for Holmes, but he was out doing the warm-up with his team-mates ahead of the FA Cup first round win at Coventry City last weekend and looked sharp.
Wilder won’t be rushing the player back though, and has tentatively targeted a comeback for Holmes in around three weeks’ time, once he has stepped up his training.
“It was great to see Ricky on the pitch and we wanted him to do the warm-up,” said Wilder, who admitted the plan was to also give the travelling fans a lift - something that backfired somewhat when Town had to do their warm-up at the opposite end of the Ricoh Arena!
“That was a bit of a nightmare, because when we got out the warm up was at the far end,” said the Cobblers boss.
“We did it because we wanted to give Ricky a bit of a boost and the punters a bit of a boost, but I have to say, looking back, I don’t think the supporters needing any geeing up.
“But it was really good to see Ricky involved with the first team, and that is what it’s all about.”
When asked about a possible comeback date for Holmes, Wilder is looking at early December and the FA Cup second round, or perhaps even a little earlier.
“Ricky is working extremely hard, and is doing the warm-ups, and doing the ball-work,” said the Cobblers boss.
“Maybe some of the other stuff we are going to have to be careful, because the ground is turning a little bit and getting a little bit heavier with the weather.
“But he is coming on smashing and it is going to be a big, big boost for us when he comes back.
“Without tempting fate, we have talked about him coming back in and around the Yeovil game (Nov 28), and if we can get him back for the Christmas run-in that would be a huge boost.”