LIONEL Ainsworth has given Hereford United a boost on the eve of their League One clash against Northampton Town by rejoining the club on loan.

The striker proved an instant hit at Edgar Street in the first-half of last season, scoring eight goals in 17 starts before signing for Watford.

However, the 21-year-old has struggled to make his mark at the Championship club with no goals in just four starts.

The ex-Derby player has agreed a one-month loan deal with the Bulls and should feature against Northampton on Saturday (3pm).

Hereford will look to bounce back from their 2-1 FA Cup first-round replay defeat at Dagenham on Tuesday and produce a repeat of the performance that saw them beat Cheltenham 3-0 last Saturday.

Apart from Ainsworth, another change expected by boss Graham Turner is the recall of keeper Matt Murray. The on-loan Wolves stopper was not eligible for the cup trip but earned the praise of his boss in his debut against the Robins.

Northampton manager Stuart Gray worked with Murray at Molineux as caretaker coach in 2004 and knows the quality his side will face.

Gray said: “Matt Murray’s a fantastic keeper. They won 3-0 last week but Matt made a lot of very good saves in that game to keep them in it.

“He’s a huge presence in the penalty area and we know we’ve got a big man to beat when we do get through.

“Some players are just not blessed and he’s been so unfortunate with injuries. If he was clear of injuries, he’d be in the England set-up — that’s how good I think he is.”

Northampton, who slumped to a 5-2 FA Cup defeat at home to Leeds on Monday, are without striker Adebayo Akinfenwa (calf) and captain Chris Doig (hamstring).