Aidy Boothroyd says top scorer Adebayo Akinfenwa has nothing to prove despite being left out by the Northampton boss recently.
The 29-year-old had been a shining light for the struggling Cobblers, scoring eight times in League Two since his summer return to Sixfields.
But Akinfenwa has been relegated to the substitutes' bench for the last three games and failed to make an appearance in Saturday's 2-1 victory at Morecambe.
Boothroyd said: "I've had a long chat with Bayo and he's a great bloke, he's the right character and I like him. But I just think the team has been doing really well and he's been unfortunate.
"He's got an incredible goalscoring record and he isn't going to want to sit on the bench at a team that is floating around the lower regions of the league and I totally understand that.
"The boys are doing really well and they're working hard for each other. He accepts that and he'll just want the chance to get himself back in the team. I don't think he needs to prove himself, he's done plenty in his career so far."