Goalkeeper Steve Arnold back in training and closing in on Cobblers return
Goalkeeper Steve Arnold is closing in on a return to first team action for the Cobblers - and the former Shrewsbury Town man could feature in Tuesday night's Leasing.com Trophy group clash at Cambridge United (ko 7.30pm).
Arnold has played just 65 minutes of football for Town since his summer switch from New Meadow, pulling his right hamstring on his debut for the club at Port Vale on August 10.
His recovery has been a long process, but Arnold was back in training with his fellow Cobblers goalkeepers last week and has suffered no reaction.
He wasn't involved in the weekend defeat to Leyton Orient, but the 30-year-old could feature at the Abbey Stadium, although manager Keith Curle was keeping his cards close to his chest on that one.
Alan McCormack can expect to get more minutes in his legs at Cambridge as well, with the former Luton man returning as a second-half substitute against the Os.
That was his first action since the opening day defeat to Walsall, and Curle admitted seeing the Irishman back on the field was one of the few things that gave him cause to smile over the weekend.
"One of the pluses from the weekend was Alan McCormack getting 20/25 minutes back on the pitch," said the Cobblers boss.
"It was also pleasing to see Steve Arnold rejoining the goalkeepers in their training last week, and he has had no ill-effects from that, and Macca has had no ill-effects.
"So they are pleasing signs, and when you do have a relatively small squad it is important you get the key personnel playing.
"It has taken a little bit of time, but the procedure we are following is the right one to get these players back and give them the best opportunity to get in the team and stay in the team, injury free."
Charlie Goode is expected to have recovered from his bout of illness over the weekend, while Jordan Turnbull is also available again after serving his one-match suspension.
Curle could also give match time to the likes of Matty Warburton, Billy Waters, Scott Pollock and Vadaine Oliver who have all been restricted to bench roles for the past six weeks or so.
There could also be chances for the likes of Morgan Roberts and Ryan Hughes, and Curle admits he is looking forward to getting his team back out on the pitch following the disappointment of the weekend.
"We get paid to play football, so there is never a bad time to have a game," said the Cobblers boss..
"Clubs like Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham, they all want games very quickly after their results at the weekend, and we are no different.
"We are professionals, we want a game, and we want to identify areas where we still need to improve."