Cobblers suffer McWilliams blow but Arsenal's Olayinka set to make his return
Midfielder won't feature again this season
Cobblers midfielder Shaun McWilliams has been ruled out for the rest of the season with the knee injury he suffered at Crawley Town back on Boxing Day.
The 21-year-old landed awkwardly in the closing stages of Town's 4-0 defeat at the Broadfield Stadium and required prolonged treatment before being stretchered off.
After initial diagnosis, McWilliams was ruled out until at least March but two months on and manager Keith Curle revealed his young midfielder is still in a leg brace and will now miss the rest of the campaign.
"I don't think we'll see Shaun again this season," said the Town boss.
"He's still in the leg brace and he's got another check up either at the end of this week or at the start of next and hopefully he'll be able to take the brace off then.
"That'll mean he can step up to the next stage of his rehab but, being realistic, I'd probably say it won't be until the start of next season before we see him in field-based training again."
In better news, Arsenal loanee James Olayinka will be in contention for this weekend's visit of Mansfield Town after fully recovering from his ankle problem.
"James has ticked all the boxes with Arsenal with his training," added Curle.
"He trained Saturday, Sunday and Monday so he's back up with us now.
"They've still got some reservations whether he's fit and available to be selected to start and play 90 minutes given the length of time he's been out.
"But we've had good communication with Arsenal and they're happy to hand him over now knowing that he could get 60 minutes on Saturday."
Striker Andy Williams is also not far off a return after suffering a hamstring injury against Walsall.