And so to the final countdown…are we ready? Even Aidy Boothroyd has this week admitted that the answer is no but the slowly but surely approach is coming to fruition. Another couple of friendlies are down (a Maunsell Cup victory over Corby and a 2-1 win over Stoke City Under 21’s) with two more permanent signings in place.
JJ Hooper seems like a good enough player to battle his way towards the first team and he backed up his one year deal by scoring in both warm up games this week. A young striker who needs an arm over his shoulder to kick on after being released by Newcastle United, Hooper has shown promise throughout pre-season and fought off competition from another couple of young forwards to win his place in Northampton Town: version 2013/14.
Gary Deegan is one that will definitely be more involved in the first team right away after he signed a deal towards the end of last week. Last season was a roller coaster ride for the midfielder at SPL side Hibs when mid-season he was on the receiving end of an unprovoked attack in Edinburgh city centre and suffered a broken jaw that kept him out until December. He made an impressive return, though, and produced this in the Scottish Cup for his first goal for the club:
More of those in claret would be lovely please Mr Deegan!
We’re now a couple of players away from being a squad that looks like they can make a challenge and attention now turns to hopefully securing a right back and a striker with journalist’s nightmare Kevin Amankwaah possibly the man to follow Hooper and Deegan into the club. The striker issue rolls on but we have to be patient and understand that we do have until the end of August to bring someone in.
We would all love to have the whole squad in place before the start of the campaign but if you look at it another way you could say that should a first choice striker suffer a serious mid-season injury, like the one Alex Nicholls sustained, we would need time to replace him. Until that time we would have to get by until the right man came along. We’re in the position now where we still have a month to bring in a permanent signing up front and if we have to wait for the right one then so be it.
With six days to go, it all seems a bit surreal that the season is about to begin again…the scars from Wembley still run deep and we need to come right out of the blocks with intent against York City and wipe away any memories from that half an hour of madness that ended 2012/13.
This time next week we’ll be looking back on the opening day of the new campaign…time for the moaning to stop and the excitement to begin!