Ahead of the first friendly on Saturday afternoon, the Maunsell Cup final at Brackley, the Cobblers appear to have just about complete the squad for next season by bringing in young Chelsea goalkeeper Sam Walker on loan for the season and former Middlesbrough left-back Ashley Corker on a twelve month deal.
The fact that we’ve got everything sorted even before friendly number one whilst others in League Two try out new faces in their own friendly matches is a real change to the norm and you have to tip your hat to Gary Johnson for doing something that not a lot of past Town managers have been able to do. The advantage now is that a full squad will be involved with the entirety of the build up to the season, through all the friendlies and training sessions and the team spirit crucial to any successful squad should be well in place by the time the big kick off comes around on August 6th.
First to complete his deal yesterday was Sam Walker, a young Chelsea keeper who finished last season on loan with Barnet, helping them to stay in the Football League in a dramatic run in. The 19-Year-Old signs on a season long loan deal and comes with bags of potential to lock into. Walker was between the sticks for most of Chelsea’s 2010 FA Youth Cup win after joining the Blues from Millwall as a school boy.
Ashley Corker has signed a permanent twelve month contract after impressing during Johnson’s trial days a couple of weeks ago and then in training for the past two weeks. Well known to fellow Middlesbrough academy product and Cobblers defender John Johnson, Corker comes in after a number of trials at other clubs. The void left by Marcus Hall and Liam Davis’ departures this summer is finally filled after a couple of names were linked to the vacancy.
So with everything just about in place, time for a friendly or two I reckon. We’ve not started as early as some of our rivals but now is the time for football to start making a slow and steady come back. It all starts with Brackley on Saturday in the dubious Maunsell Cup Final and we go into the game with the squad that should be the one that we take into the Accrington game when it all starts for real!