Richards’ Cobblers return will be a ‘massive boost’ says midfielder Byrom

READY TO RETURN - Marc Richards
READY TO RETURN - Marc Richards
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Joel Byrom says it will be ‘a massive boost’ to have skipper and top scorer Marc Richards back in the Cobblers matchday squad.

The 18-goal striker hasn’t featured for Northampton since the win at Oxford United on February 16, when he netted the only goal of the game from the penalty spot.

An Achilles strain has seen Richards out of action since that night at the Kassam Stadium, but he has been doing light running for the past couple of weeks, and on Thursday resumed full training.

Manager Chris Wilder has hinted that Richards could be on the bench for Saturday’s trip to Stevenage in Sky Bet League Two, adding he will definitely be involved for the Good Friday Sixfields showdown with Newport County.

League two leaders Cobblers haven’t lost a game in Richards’ absence, with James Collins and John Marquis keeping the goals scored column ticking over, but Byrom admits the Town squad can’t wait to have their main man back in the fold.

Asked about the return to fitness of Richards, Byrom said: “It is a massive boost.

“Any time your leading goalscorer and your captain is coming back fit you look forward to it, and he has been brilliant for us since I have been at the club. It is always good to have him back.”

If nothing else, Richards’ return will add another potent attacking string to the Cobblers’ bow, with Byrom admitting Town have a lot of players in good form at the top of the pitch.

“We have four forwards who have scored goals all season, as soon as they have come to club,” said the 29-year-old.

“Rico was scoring the goals, got injured, so James Collins was scoring the goals, Sam Hoskins has chipped in all season, and John Marquis has come in and done the same.

“We have attacking options all over, even the wide boys who are setting up goals and scoring themselves as well. We have a lot of players who can hurt teams.”

As has become the norm this season, the Cobblers will again be backed by a big away following at Stevenage on Saturday.

The club has sold out its 1,400 allocation for the match, and Byrom is hoping he and his team-mates can reward them with three points.

“The fans have been unbelievable all season, wherever they have been, either and Sixfields or on the road,” said the 29-year-old.

“They have taken big numbers to a lot of places, to MK Dons, Dagenham and places like that, and there will be a lot there again at the weekend. We just have to go and give them something to cheer about.”