Curle and Adams left 'gutted' by Watson injury as midfielder vows to be back 'as soon as possible'
Manager Keith Curle admits Ryan Watson's absence will be a blow to the Cobblers after the midfielder's fine start to the season was cut short by injury on Tuesday night.
The 26-year-old was not part of Curle's first-choice midfield for the opening game of the season against Walsall but injury to Alan McCormack presented an opportunity and he didn't look back.
Watson scored and impressed on his first start at Port Vale the following weekend and he has started all seven games since, even wearing the captain's armband for last month's Carabao Cup tie at Swansea City.
His marauding runs forward from deep have been a feature of his play, and it was from one of those that caused the injury on Tuesday when he took a heavy tumble in midfield and left the field in visible agony.
Curle later confirmed Watson has broken his collarbone and will require surgery, which will keep him out of action for a significant period of time, leaving the Cobblers short in midfield.
"Very disappointing to pick up an injury last night," tweeted Watson. "Now have to look forward to the challenge to get back fit and be back playing as soon as possible!"
"He'll be a loss," admitted Curle. "He's been enjoying the role that we've asked him to do and he's added goals to his game which is something we identified before we signed him.
"We knew the qualities he had and we wanted goals and I think he's revelled in that and breaking forward but he's also been very industrious in the midfield, making us a solid unit and landing on second balls and starting a lot of our play going forward."
This season is the second time Nicky Adams has played alongside Watson after the pair spent a brief time together during the title-winning campaign in 2015.
"I'm gutted for him," said the winger. "I've known Watto a long time and he was here with me last time so I'm close to him.
"I'm gutted for anyone who gets injured because it's not nice. He just fell awkwardly and I wish him a speedy recovery.
"He's a great lad and he's been playing well. I enjoy playing with him and we have a good balance in there where we're moving it well and making it hard for teams and outnumbering them and that's where we're creating our chances.
"Hopefully someone can step up and do well. We have a good squad and we have other lads coming back from injury and they'll add to us."