The January transfer window is usually one where football fans worry about who is coming in to save their season, who will fill a gaping hole in a midfield decimated by injury or who will be the one signing that will potentially give them the final step towards promotion. But for the Cobblers yesterday the main event centred around Bayo Akinfenwa and his immediate future, just as it did back in August when the first transfer window shut.
With the big man starting the last two games, including a 2-0 defeat to one of his suitors Gillingham on Tuesday night, on the bench the speculation mounted. It was, in my eyes, useful for Aidy Boothroyd to work out ways to play without Akinfenwa should the worst happen and if it were true that Gillingham were indeed trying to lure him back to the Priestfield then it perhaps wouldn’t have been too wise to send him out from the start.
But all the talk, speculation and fears were over with a couple of hours left of the window. Boothroyd had already completed a deal for striker Roy O’ Donovan, a man he brought to Coventry City from Sunderland during his time there, but this was not to be a replacement. As the evening started moving towards the final couple of hours of the window, Bayo sent out this tweet:
Cobblers fans rejoiced and turned their attention to O’Donovan, some ridiculously slating his goal scoring record already! Energies might have been better spent acknowledging that not only have we signed another cog to the forward line but also that other prize assets such as Chris Hackett are still in place. Hackett in particular is one that I would have been almost as worried about leaving thanks to his outstanding and consistent contribution since signing in the summer.
O’Donovan, to me, is a very good signing for League Two and should fit the Cobblers well. He can play out wide or as an out and out striker, meaning that there’s still potential for the rejuvenated Jake Robinson to do the same. It’s another big option for the Cobblers boss with O’Donovan relatively experienced for a 27 year old.
I still sense that the mood around the club is a good one despite Tuesday’s defeat and the double good news coming out of the transfer window means that we can go to Rotherham on Saturday to face the team led by that oh so eloquent of English football managers Steve Evans on a bit of a high. After Evans’ assertion at the start of the season, following the Cobblers’ 2-1 win over his side at Sixfields, that Rotherham will definitely finish about us there should be no need for extra motivational talks for players and fans alike.
Those Town fans have their talisman to cheer again and now that the focus is off Bayo’s future he can hopefully get back his focus to help us to solidify that place in the top seven. As January turns into February, there’s room for optimism at Planet Sixfields.