First friendly reunites some old faces

Brackley Town v Northampton Town

Maunsell Cup Final

Saturday, July 16th 2011

As is usually the case when we come up against local sides in pre-season, there will be a clutch of ex Cobblers on the opposite side of the pitch when we take to the field for the first friendly of the summer on Saturday. The Maunsell Cup final at Brackley sees us come up against one or two familiar names and local stalwarts, particularly former Rushden and Diamonds and Kettering player Jon Brady who is in charge of the Saints after taking over in 2009.

Brady is the only man to have won the Conference, Conference North and Conference South as a player (Rushden, Kettering and Hayes) so has a fine pedigree in non-league. Assistant Darren Collins is another to have been with Rushden for a significant period and made 286 appearances for the club following a spell with the Cobblers in his early career.

A man all too familiar with us is Billy Turley after he joined Brackley last summer. A broken leg kept him out of the final few months of the season and it remains to be seen whether he will have recovered in time to face his former employers. Fair to say there will be one or two ‘friendly’ words directed at him from the Cobblers support if he does take his place between the sticks! Nicknamed ‘Spilly’ towards the end of his time here, I could never really work out whether he was that bad as a keeper or whether he simply froze under the pressure of replacing the ever popular Andy Woodman between the Sixfields posts.

Captaining the Brackley side is Chris Willmott who somehow managed 81 appearances for the Cobblers between 2003 and 2005 without ever covering himself in any glory and completes the line-up of old boys that will try to stop Town from clinching the ‘first silverware of the season’.

The Maunsell Cup is often mocked and I can never really work out how each side are chosen to be in the final other than local interest but it still represents the first chance to see some of our new signings in action and maybe take a sneaky look at some other local talent on the other side of the pitch.

I can only thank Gary Johnson for signing two keepers already just in case he got desperate to dip into the local scene and try to bring another ex-Cobbler back to Sixfields! If Turley and Willmott do play and live up to our less than lofty expectations of them then our first kick around of the summer could well yield one or two goals!

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