Luke Guttridge is closing in on a Cobblers comeback but manager Aidy Boothroyd will adopt a cautious approach to the midfielder’s return.
Boothroyd regrets the urgency with which he restored John Johnson to the Town first-team frame after the defender recovered from a knee cartilage operation last month.
Johnson suffered a setback and has since gone under the knife again, and the Cobblers boss wants to avoid losing Guttridge to a recurrence of the foot injury that has already kept him sidelined for 11 weeks.
“He went down with us to Torquay on Saturday and he’s desperate to get playing again,” he said.
“He’s not too far away and I’m having to put the reins on him, he’s like a little Jack Russell wanting to play.
“I want him to be right. I don’t want another incident like we had with John Johnson where I perhaps brought him back too soon.
“Johnno is another player that always wants to play but we have to be careful.
“It’s nice to be in a position where you’ve got good players coming back and he will certainly make a difference to us.
“But it’s been pleasing to have got to where we are with someone like Lewis Hornby in the side because that shows that we’ve got some good players in the squad.”
Guttridge was put through his paces by fitness coach Craig Smith in the warm-up at Plainmoor but his presence as a lucky, Devon-born omen did not have the desired effect for Boothroyd.
“We thought because he was from Paignton that we’d take him to Torquay at the weekend because he might bring us a bit of luck,” he said.
“But when he played for them he had a full head of blond hair and now he looks more like Telly Savalas so it didn’t really work.”