Boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is set to make changes to the Cobblers starting line-up for Saturday’s FA Cup first round clash with Scunthorpe United at Sixfields (ko 3pm).
Hasselbaink is set to assess the fitness levels of his squad ahead of the showdown with Town’s Sky Bet League One rivals, and says he will be tinkering with his line-up, although he also stated there will not be wholesale changes.
We want to at least put a strong team out, as strong as possible, but I also have to have a look at knocks, and who needs a game, and who needs to get a little bit fitterCobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
“I love the FA Cup, but since I have been here we have played a lot of games in a short spell,” said Hasselbaink, who has overseen 13 matches in seven weeks since taking over from Just Edinburgh.
“So I need to look at the squad, I need to look at individuals, and see if I have to make a couple of changes, also to see other people.
“It won’t be dramatic, I won’t make dramatic changes, because we have the Checkatrade Trophy next Tuesday as well, but there might be one or two changes.”
And he added: “We have to be competitive, and we have to try to win the game.
“We want to at least put a strong team out, as strong as possible, but I also have to have a look at knocks, and who needs a game, and who needs to get a little bit fitter.
“That is how we have to use the game.”
The Cobblers suffered no fresh injury concerns following Saturday’s 1-0 win over Blackpool, and Hasselbaink has been boosted by the fact injured trio Matt Crooks, Aaron Phillips and Leon Barnett are all closing in on fitness.
Midfielder Crooks is set to return to first team training this week after his knee injury, while right-back Aaron Phillips is now back in full training following his thigh muscle injury.
Leon Barnett is out of his protective boot as he steps up his recovery from his Achilles strain, and is now just one week away from returning to running.
“Matt Crooks should start training with the group this week,” confirmed Hasselbaink.
“He is going to play a little part today (Tuesday) with the main group, and we will see how he reacts tomorrow from that, and then hopefully we can build from that.
“Leon has been to see the doctor, and he has given him the green light to come out of the boot, so he has got one more week of strength work, and then if everything goes well he can get on the grass.”