In all the doom and gloom at Sixfields at the moment there’s one man that’s performing consistently. A man who returned in the summer to spark masses of debate on message boards and on this blog. Neutrals reading this will probably assume I’m talking about Bayo Akinfenwa but most Cobblers fans should know it’s the surprise of the season, Ashley Westwood, falling under the spotlight.
If any Town supporters were to be asked in the summer honestly how they would feel about Westwood returning to Sixfields they would laugh and say a big ‘no thanks’. I have to admit that personally I wrote a piece here about how it was a panic signing and how Westwood would have to go a long way to appease the claret faithful after a poor couple of years here previously.
I admit to screaming ‘bloody Westwood’ a few times during 2003 and 2006 and didn’t shed any tears on his departure to Chester City following our promotion at the end of his time here.
But since his return, the defender has been the best player in a Cobblers shirt on more than one occasion, even nipping in with the winning goal at Aldershot, and the early panic station that I placed myself in has been settled and he’s now one of the first names on the team sheet.
Experience has a lot to do with it. When Gary Johnson says that there’s ‘too many shrinking violets’ in the squad you get the feeling he’s not directing it at Westwood. At 35, Westwood is a key component now of a team that includes a fair few younger talents who need that sort of leadership.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had their opinions turned and long may it continue. Now for the rest of them!