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Luke Guttridge is closing in on a return from injury, but Northampton boss Aidy Boothroyd will err on the side of caution with his comeback.
Guttridge has been out for the past 11 weeks with a foot injury but travelled with the rest of the squad to Torquay at the weekend.
Boothroyd regrets rushing John Johnson back into first-team contention after the defender recovered from a knee cartilage operation last month.
Johnson suffered a setback and has since undergone surgery again, and the Cobblers boss wants to avoid losing Guttridge to a recurrence of his problem.
"He went down with us to Torquay on Saturday and he's desperate to get playing again," Boothroyd told the Chronicle & Echo.
"He's not too far away and I'm having to put the reins on him, he's like a little Jack Russell wanting to play.
"I want him to be right. I don't want another incident like we had with John Johnson where I perhaps brought him back too soon.
"Johnno is another player that always wants to play but we have to be careful. It's nice to be in a position where you've got good players coming back and he will certainly make a difference to us."