The long-awaited return to fitness of Alan McCormack gave Cobblers fans at least one reason to smile following Saturday's disappointing defeat to Leyton Orient.
The midfielder has become all-too familiar with the treatment room having spent 24 injury-hit months at Luton Town before his summer move to Northampton, managing just 36 starts across the last two campaigns.
And a change of club has yet to bring a change of fortune after his Northampton debut was ended by injury just an hour into their opening-day defeat to Walsall in early August.
Two months later though and finally McCormack is hoping to kick-start his career at the PTS. On Saturday he came through 20 minutes unscathed and now feels fit, strong and ready to add his wealth of experience to the team.
“I’ve been close for the last two or three weeks,” said the 35-year-old, who also played 25 minutes against Cambridge United in midweek. “I’ve been training for a good three weeks now and it’s probably taken a week or two more than what we thought it would be.
“It just took a little bit longer to get up to speed but it’s been great to get back out and train with the boys every day.
“I’m getting my sharpness back and it’s all about playing more match minutes and getting to that 90-minute stage where you can rack up the 90 minutes and not feel tired.
“I’m working on it every day but I feel strong and I feel good. It’s been seven or eight weeks and it’s been quite frustrating doing a slow recovery while watching the lads play every week.
“But I’m back in with the lads now and hopefully I can get into the team and keep my shirt and we can get three points each week.”
Despite McCormack’s return, the Cobblers missed out on victory for the third game in a row at the weekend as a poor display against Leyton Orient paved the way for a limp defeat, leaving them in 14th place and needing to play catch-up on the rest of the division.
“I didn’t think we really deserved anything out of the game," admitted the former Brentford and Southend midfielder. "We didn’t play as well as we can and we were off the pace in terms of being on the front foot, getting the ball forward and playing in good areas.
“It’s frustrating because we’ve worked all week and to be honest I thought it was one of the best training weeks we’ve had (in the lead up to the game).
“We came into the game and were very, very confident but they just made it difficult for us and made it a scrappy game and we didn’t get to grips with that.
“It turned into a bit of an ugly game and knowing how to win that way is very important. In this league you probably have to win ugly more than win playing well.”