Brady discusses his forward options after Leicester and Cardiff loanees impress off the bench against Hartlepool

'Chanka is now back and hopefully Josh will stay fit and what a difference they made.'

By James Heneghan
Monday, 28th March 2022, 10:53 am

Cobblers boss Jon Brady is keeping everything crossed that Chanka Zimba and Josh Eppiah will stay fit and play a big part over the final seven games of the season after they impressed off the bench against Hartlepool United on Saturday.

Zimba and Eppiah have looked the part when fit after joining the Cobblers in January on loan from Cardiff and Leicester respectively, but both have been plagued by injury.

Zimba missed over six weeks with a hamstring strain while Eppiah has encountered problems with both of his calves, however the young forward pair were back on the bench against Hartlepool.

Josh Eppiah.

And both made it onto the pitch, with Zimba scoring his first goal for the club with his first touch and Eppiah a livewire on the right side, going close a couple of times himself.

"It will be a relief for Chanka," said Brady. "He's found himself in some really great positions and he makes them for himself because he's excellent at playing off the shoulder and he's a real threat against any team.

"I'm delighted for him to get his goal and I thought he led the line really well when he came on.

"It was also good to have Josh Eppiah available and he looked great when he came on and I felt out subs made a real difference for us.

"In the past I've been unable to make those substitutions until there's only 10 minutes to play and use them as real bit-part players but Michael (Bolger) is working wonders in the physio department and I'm able to put them on earlier when we need them.

"No-one gets the context but at times they have probably been on the bench way earlier than they should have been and there was potential risk of injury if we put them on too early.

"It's an ongoing discussion with the medical department - 'come on, can I at least get them on for 10 minutes?' and that's where we have been.

"We wanted the new signings to really lift us and you saw on Saturday that Chanka is now back and hopefully Josh will stay fit and what a difference they made.

"It really kicked us on in the end. At times in the past we have sat back but on Saturday we had offensive players to come on and make a difference.

"We have pushed and pushed and we also had the problem where Josh suffered the same injury again. It's been tough and we have needed him because we were so short but hopefully, now, we see the best of them."