Cobblers boss Chris Wilder is ready to dip into the loan market to find a replacement for Ivan Toney.
Toney completed a move to Premier League side Newcastle United for an undisclosed fee on Thursday.
But with the Cobblers academy product not a high earner at Sixfields, Wilder will have to be cautious as he bids to balance his budget.
And that means he could look to higher level clubs in a bid to bring in a striker who can provide competition for last season’s leading scorer Marc Richards.
“There’s a lot of good young loan players around,” Wilder said.
“I’m not a massive lover of getting someone in just for a month but if we have to then we will.
“We’re looking at that market and a six-month loan to the January window, or if someone comes available on a permanent then we’ll try and do that.
“We do need another one at the top of the pitch, Ivan was going to be that other one whether he’d play alone or in a two as they would share the load around, that’s what we were looking to do.
“But with Ivan going it’s left us just light.”
Toney proved a valuable component at times last season, and the 19-year-old finished his Cobblers career with 13 goals in 60 appearances.
But Richards took most of the slack when it came to notching during the previous campaign as he scored 18 goals in Sky Bet League Two.
And though the 33-year-old has been working hard to prevent injury during pre-season, Wilder knows he can’t place all of his eggs in one basket.
“Richards wants to play every minute of every game and so does everyone,” Wilder said.
“But it’s up to me to keep everybody fit and fresh, especially at the top of the pitch with the amount of work that they do; they take a battering.
“Marc takes a battering but he’ll handle that side of it and it’s important that we have competition there if Marc does get injured or needs a breather.
“We need to manage him well, he’s not getting any younger but this pre-season he’s been outstanding and he’s trained as hard as ever.
“He’ll be looking to kick on as captain as well and will be determined to lead the line at the top of the pitch.”