Lewis Hornby is expected to sign a professional contract with the Cobblers before the end of the week, it has been confirmed.
The 17-year-old has emerged as a key performer in the past two months and had cemented a place in the starting line-up prior to the return to fitness of the more experienced Luke Guttridge.
Hornby, who is currently a second-year scholar and is still eligible to play for the youth team, may now travel to Chesterfield for the npower League Two fixture this weekend as a professional player for the first time.
Earlier in the season, fellow junior Dean Snedker signed a three-year contract after a handful of strong performances in the first team - that piece of business looks increasingly shrewd with the goalkeeper having been selected for an England training camp to take place later this month.
Hornby will most likely have to make do with the place on the substitutes bench at Chesterfield with manager Aidy Boothroyd set to named a side unchanged from the win over Fleetwood.
David Artell and John Johnson returned to full training this week but Boothroyd wants to give both a run-out in a practice match before committing them to first-team action.
The club will take extra caution over the return of Johnson after he suffered a setback on his playing return in November; the right-back has since had a second operation of the season on a knee cartilage.
Jake Robinson sustained a large gash to his shin in the Fleetwood game but has trained all week and will feature in Saturday’s game.
Alex Nicholls, who suffered a double fracture of his left leg on October 27, is the club’s only injury, with Nana’s rehabilitation now at the point where he is running and turning, but strengthening work on his knee still needs to be completed.