It’s always the way, I spend days checking the official website looking for incoming news to fill my football needs through the summer and as soon as I go away for a few days it all kicks off again! There’s, of course, been one or two major announcements over the last few days and I’ve tried to get my head around it all below. Fair to say that as pre-season begins once more that we’re looking at a very good quality of squad…
Coming In: Paul Turnbull and Arron Davies
Two contrasting midfielders come through the doors then, one we’d not heard a lot about until last month and another that we know an awful lot about from past associations with Gary Johnson.
Turnbull, the Stockport club captain last season, comes in as a relative unknown but has qualities that we were lacking in the middle of the park last season. Bite and energy are key to any midfield and that’s what is promised from Turnbull after some impressive displays last season despite his team finishing rock bottom of the Football League.
Davies joins up with Johnson for the third time having played under him at Yeovil and Peterborough and will be looking to get back into first team action following a frustrating couple of years on the side lines. He’s another that can be utilised in a couple of positions, either in central midfield or on the right wing and his creativity could be key to compliment Ben Tozer and/or Turnbull.
Both excellent signings in my book and the fact that we have a near full squad by July 1st is massive. Two trial days were held this week in a bid to fill the two outstanding positions of goalkeeper and left back plus any further additions that Johnson might look at. The days were designed to put 24 out of contract players under the microscope ahead of the squad reporting back for pre-season training on Friday and we could see one or two from the trial days progress to become the final pieces of the Cobblers jigsaw.
As mentioned, the goalkeeping situation needs filling thanks to Chris Dunn finally moving to Coventry City for an undisclosed fee this week. Dunn’s move has been speculated for weeks and there was apparent interest from a Premier League club according to City manager Andy Thorn. To me this is a case of the best move for both of us – we lose a keeper but not one who many Town fans will be mourning the loss of all summer long and Dunn gets a progressive move. He’s not the finished article and training at a higher level will either make or break him but we now move on to hopefully find a decent replacement. Goalkeepers are easier to come across than 20 goal a season strikers and Johnson will surely have had back up names ready to go with Dunn’s deal looking imminent for a while now.
David Lee becomes new Assistant manager
It’s a warm welcome to Johnson’s new ‘Number Two’ David Lee as the former Chelsea defender comes in to replace Malcolm Crosby. Lee is an experienced head and was working with Johnson at Bristol City as a development coach so it’s a sensible appointment. Many thought that Andy Holt might get the nod and progress from player-coach but he needs time to get used to those particular rigours, especially while he’s still playing for the club as well.
So a busy week caught up with, all eyes now on the pre-season with the count down well and truly on for the big kick off on August 6th. The first friendly takes place in two weeks’ time so plenty of preparation time for everyone involved and the chance to finalise a squad that’s looking ever more tasty by the week!