Strike duo could make Cobblers comeback at Rochdale as O’Toole eyes more game-time

Chris Long, on loan from Burnley, has struggled with a slight hamstring problem. Picture by Sharon Lucey
Chris Long, on loan from Burnley, has struggled with a slight hamstring problem. Picture by Sharon Lucey

Cobblers could be boosted by the return of forward pair Chris Long and Marc Richards for Tuesday’s trip to Rochdale.

Burnley loanee Long has been sidelined for several weeks as he attempts to fully get over a nagging hamstring injury, while skipper Richards missed Saturday’s game against AFC Wimbledon with a thigh strain.

Both are in the frame to be selected for Tuesday’s trip to Spotland though, with manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink saying: “Marc has a thigh strain and I think he will be touch and go for Tuesday.

“Chris Long should also be coming back but Leon Barnett’s not ready yet.”

After his 12-minute cameo appearances on Saturday, midfielder John-Joe O’Toole could get further game time at Rochdale although it’s highly unlikely he’ll be fit enough to start.

“I’ll do my best but I’m not sure I could play 90 just yet,” said the midfielder. “I haven’t played since mid-July. I’m desperate to get out there but you don’t want to overdo it and when you’re unfit, it brings on injuries and whatnot so you’ve got to be careful.

“But Saturday was a start and now I want to build on it.”

Matt Crooks (knee), Leon Barnett (Achilles) and Aaron Phillips (thigh) all remain absent due to various injuries while Alex Revell serves the second of his three-game suspension.