Bath will welcome back South African flanker Francois Louw with glee this week ahead of their Challenge Cup Final on Friday.
Louw suffered ankle ligament damage playing for Bath against London Irish at the end of March, ruling him out of Bath's chase for the top four.
Ultimately they missed out on the playoffs but still have the chance to pick up some silverware this season in Cardiff this weekend.
"It's fantastic news that he's back. It's huge for us," said Ford.
"He's a world-class player and he's a leader. He'll come back refreshed because he's had a few weeks off. And he's been champing at the bit.
"We need that competitiveness at the ruck and he provides that for us.
"Northampton have got Calum Clark and Samu Manoa who drop in on the football, (Mike) Haywood's pretty good as well, the Pisi brothers...
"We possibly could have risked him against Quins (on May 10) but decided not to. He's pretty desperate to get out there and win."