So it’s mid-May and the season isn’t officially over with various cup finals due to keep up our footballing fix for the next couple of weeks. Usually, as Cobblers fans, we’d be relaxing into our breaks safe in the knowledge that we’re not likely to sign anyone until at least the start of pre-season. This summer, though, things have taken a different and much more welcoming turn as Chris Wilder has made the contract offers, sent out the retained list and recruited two, yes TWO, new players and has said that he wants to get business done as soon as possible.
Granted, one of the signings was Zander Diamond who had probably agreed something in principle a while back after a stellar loan spell but Wilder is saying all the right things about getting everything sorted quickly and there’s something about him that makes you completely trust in what he’s doing with the club. The signing of Marc Richards yesterday already leaves our front line looking healthier than it was at the start of this season and there’s another space on Wilder’s list for a striker too.
That list also contains a left back, a right back, a utility midfielder, a left winger and a winger who can play on both sides of the pitch.
It’s a refreshing feel of transparency going into a summer which will see plenty of changes with the talk of a smaller squad something that’s been discussed but never truly delivered on in recent seasons but something that you would hope we can stick to this time. If we can tie up the deals for the four offered new deals (Chris Hackett, Gregor Robertson, Connor Roberts and David Moyo) and add the same sort of quality that’s been captured so far then we’ll be in a very strong position.
The winners and promoted sides of League Two have generally been the ones who have tightness about them and the ones who don’t rely on silly one month loan deals that have been the desperate lunge of past managers in times of crisis. If you’re talking about season long loans like the successful one of Lee Nicholls last season then I’m fine with it but I’ve always been against bringing in unknown young players from a side in the higher divisions just for what could only be three or four games. Yes, it gives them experience but does it truly help us?
It’s great to see Wilder setting out his plans and making it clear that our own young lads will be getting a chance alongside the more experienced pros like Richards, Diamond and Darren Carter. That’s where we need to be – in a position where we have a strong base of a squad and instead of looking for someone else’s reserve team players look inwards and give a chance to someone knocking on your own door. At Dagenham, Wilder gave the chance to a young striker called Ivan Toney and the rest is history.
Whoever ends up lining up for the opening game of the season in August it looks like there should be a full squad in place – a squad who have come through the whole of pre-season together, a squad who already know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and a squad 100% ready to go and not one with giant holes in for us to pick apart and hope for last minute deals to fix.
It makes a very nice change!