Gills defeat brings more than just loss of points

Johnson…joins Guttridge on the injured list

Defeat at home to Gillingham on Tuesday night included not only a hit on our chances of re-entering the race for an early position in the top seven of League Two but also, more long term, on two key members of the playing staff.

Gillingham, whilst not completely overpowering the Cobblers, left with a pretty deserved victory with Bayo Akinfenwa’s third goal of the season late on not enough to start an unlikely fight back against his former side. As frustrating as it was to lose out on the chance to jump back into the top half of the table, perhaps more worrying were the injuries sustained by Luke Guttridge and John Johnson.

Guttridge was withdrawn early on and it was today revealed that he has a broken metatarsal, an injury that will keep him out for at least three months. Johnson, meanwhile, will be missing for something in the region of four to six weeks with a knee injury, emphasising the timeliness of Danny East’s loan extension that keeps him at Sixfields until January.

The big problem is Guttridge’s though, particularly with Ben Harding also missing for the next month from the centre of midfield. Ben Tozer will need to step up to the plate in the coming weeks and really take hold of that position whilst a new loan is an absolute must ahead of this weekend’s trip to Bristol Rovers.

Chris Hackett filled in on Tuesday night for the majority of the game but his ore natural width is needed on the right hand side. Aidy Boothroyd has said that he expects a new face to be arriving within the next couple of days following the diagnosis of Guttridge and hopefully he has something up his sleeve to take us through the next couple of months.

With that small squad we can be relieved that most of our loans have been put to good use, possibly with the exception of Henoc Mukendi who we haven’t seen the best of just yet. There’s a small amount of room, at least, for a bit of manoeuvring in the loan market and we should be able to trust Aidy enough to bring in the right character based on his previous dips into that particular area of transfer dealings.

Here’s to a speedy recovery to all!

Johnson signing a step in the right direction

JJ…signs for another year

It was a small victory but one that will keep the Cobblers steady as the first bit of pre-season business was finalised yesterday as John Johnson put pen to paper on a new one year deal with the option of a further year on top of that. Looking back on over a hundred Cobblers appearances there’s very few where you can say he wasn’t at his best or not giving 100% and the surprising thing is that he’s still only twenty three.

The fact that he’s willing to stay says a lot about Aidy Boothroyd, as it said a lot about Sammo when he initially signed on a permanent deal that followed a loan back in 2009. Agreeing to stay at a League Two side that has struggled for two seasons is a big commitment and you have to commend him for that with surely one or two admirers further up the league.

Boothroyd says that he can get better and that goes for most but having seen the very best of Johnson when he first signed then it’s exciting to think of that potential being tapped into once again. With versatility also key to next season’s reduced squad it’s also a key signing positional wise with Johnson able to play right back, centre back or holding in midfield. I struggle to think of many League Two players from that mould that I would choose to replace Johnson so to me it’s an excellent start to what is now pre-season.

We now await decisions from Clarke Carlisle, Anthony Charles, Neal Kitson and, of course, Michael Jacobs on their futures. I would imagine Charles and Kitson will be signing soon with the Jacobs situation set to run for a few weeks yet!