Boss Dean Austin was delighted to see forward Dean Bowditch back out on the pitch in a Cobblers shirt in Thursday night's 3-1 pre-season friendly win over Hull City Under-23s, declaring 'he is my type of footballer'.
The former Milton Keynes Don man has spent the summer recovering from a knee injury he picked up in training while on loan at Stevenage at the back end of last season.
Bowditch hasn't played for the Cobblers in a competitive match since the 2-0 Checkatrade Trophy defeat at Portsmouth on December last year, with then manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink allowing the player to leave the club on loan.
Signed by Justin Edinburgh last summer, Bowditch has struggled to cement a first team place at the Cobblers, and has started just five games for the club.
Bowditch set up Sam Hoskins' equaliser agaist the Tigers on Thursday in his first performance of pre-season, and it seems he could be in line to play more of a pivotal role now that Austin is at the helm.
"Dean has worked extremely hard, and he is my type of footballer," said the Cobblers boss.
"He is very, very clever, as you saw on Thursday, and he has been back in full training with us since we arrived in Spain.
"He joined in last week before we travelled, but he didn't join in with everything, but he has looked very good, very sharp and very fit, and it's pleasing to have him back on the field.
"It gives us another option."
Town saw off Hull's youngsters at their Alicante training base thanks to second-half goals from Hoskins, Aaron Pierre and Shaun McWilliams, the Cobblers coming from behind after the Tigers had taken a 52nd-minute lead.
Aside from Shay Facey, who is nursing an ankle strain picked up in last week's win over Brackley Town, every member of the touring party played at least 45 minutes, with Jack Bridge and Sean Whaler playing the full 90.
"It was a good wokout for us. We return home on Friday and we have had a tough five days, but the boys have acquitted themselves really well," said a delighted Austin.
"We had some good passages of play, and I feel we are only going to improve.
"I tinkered with a couple of things, and we did a couple of things out of possession that we don't normally do, in regards to our team.
"We had a couple of minutes on that at half-time, and it worked well for us in the second half."
The Cobblers fly home on Friday ahead of Sunday's open day at the PTS Academy Stadium (start 10am) where they will put on an open training session, and next week's home friendlies with Barnet (Tuesday) and a Manchester United XI (Friday).
That will conclude the pre-season programme ahead of the Sky Bet League Two opener against Lincoln City on August 4.
"We need to recover well on Friday and Saturday, and then we get back to training," said Austin.
"Then we have to prepare for two different types of tests that are good games for us."