Some random thoughts and musings after the Gillingham game…
1: We NEED a left back
The main negative coming out of the game was that Ben Tozer was being torn apart by right winger Frank Nouble. It’s not particularly Tozer’s fault that he’s being asked to play in an unusual position but you get the feeling that with a strong and experienced left-back in place we could have gone home with three more points than we ended up with. The position needs to be sorted asap because there’s plenty of other hungry right sided players ready to exploit us in this league if they get the chance.
2: We need to keep Saido Berahino for a bit longer
The striker on loan from West Brom was a step above most of the loan forwards we’ve had over the last few seasons. His hunger, quick feet and quality in front of goal provided Bayo with an ideal partner and having signed an extended deal until January we can only hope that he enjoys his time at Sixfields enough to sign until the end of the season. If he keeps up this standard of performance, though, it could be tough to keep him!
3. The players do, in fact, care!
The body language of the players was one of utter dejection on the final whistle with many on their knees, some just static and others punching the ground shows that there’s more passion and desire in this squad than some give them credit for. It was as if we’d just lost a playoff final and not a league game in November and the genuine pain in their faces was enough to show me that they do care for the club they’re pulling on a shirt for.
4. Derek Niven could be the missing link in midfield
Only a couple of games into his loan spell and given that he’ll almost certainly be returning to Chesterfield eventually it’s a big label to stick to him but Niven’s heart in the tackle and genuine ‘at and at ‘em attitude is just what we needed and allowed Michael Jacobs to career forwards more often, a role he seemed to relish. It looks like he could be about to be in the treatment room for ankle ligament damage suffered in this game but hopefully it’s not as bad as first feared because Niven could become a crucial part of the team in the coming weeks.
5. The Cobblers’ away support remains strong
Despite there only being 219 of the claret army out in force at the Priestfield and not a great deal of noise there was still a terrific appreciation from each and every one of them as the players left the pitch despite going down to another defeat. Genuine support remains on our travels and that can only be a good thing in another difficult season for the Cobblers.