Cobblers almost ready for new campaign

Northampton Town blogger Will Matthews takes a look at how this week’s pre-season games went and welcomes some new arrivals to the club.¬†

A bad week in the pre-season friendlies played at Sixfields in the past week. Last Tuesday saw us entertain Derby County in a game that ended 4-3, the 3 was the flatering part of the scoreline as Derby cruised into a 4-1 lead and eased off the gas during the final 10 minutes of the game. Then last Saturday saw us entertain a Spurs XI which a mix of their young reserve players and youth prospects. The game saw us outplayed from start to finish and the final score was 3-1, yet it could have been a lot more.

We were woeful at the back yet again, there seems to be lack of communication between the back four with no-one in the team showing any type of leadership qualities. Spurs were quick on the break something which we will not have worry about against many League Two teams, but the weaknesses at the back are clear for everyone to see we lack pace, and are struggling to defend set pieces and crosses into the box. Three out of the four Derby goals could have been defended better, no-one seems to be able to get their head on the ball and always seem to come second when winning a header. The only player at the back I can give credit to at the moment is new sigining Joe Widdowson who has made some timely tackles and blocks in the last two friendly games.

Neal Kitson this week left the Cobblers to return to America. Neal played an important part in our survival last season, saving two penalties in important games. He had the potential to come on in leaps and bounds this season despite a mistake in the Corby Town friendly. However due to personal problems he is heading back home to the States, and sadly we will not get to see how he develops as a player, so I would just like to pass on my gratitude to Neal for his part in keeping us up last season, and maybe just maybe we may see him lining up in the MLS against Thierry Henry and David Beckham in the next few months.

On Monday Boothroyd added another recruit to the side as he signed forward Henri John Mukendi on a season long loan from Liverpool. Mukendi is happy playing as a traditional number 9, or out wide on the left. He joined Liverpool’s academy in 2007, making his first appearance for the Under 18’s in the 2010-11 pre-season. He went on to make 9 appearences for them that season and scored 2 goals. He had a similar season last year for the Under 18’s this time making 13 appearances scoring 2 goals which came in the same game. He was offered a professional contract in March 2012 and made the reserve squad for the NextGen Series and was named on the bench for one game. He looks a big unit and could form a beast like forward line of Platt, Bayo and himself, a lineup which would strike fear into any opposing defence.

Aidy Boothroyd followed that loan signing up with another late on Monday evening with Wigan Athletic¬†goalkeeper Lee Nicholls signing a loan deal which will end in October. Nicholls spent time on loan in the 2010-11 season at Hartlepool United, Shrewsbury Town and Sheffield Wednesday, he would have been hoping to make a few appearances in their respective first teams but failed to get an appearance at any of the three clubs. In 2011-12 season he spent time on loan at Accrington Stanley making 9 appearances for them and conceding 17 goals against. He made one solitary appearance for England U19’s in a 1-0 defeat to Germany in February 2011. Nicholls signed a new deal at Wigan in January until 2014.

Aidy Boothoyd now only has one friendly left to work out who is going to be in the first starting 11 against Cardiff City on 14th August. We beat a West Ham XI 3-1 at Sixfields last night and then a Cobblers XI will get a run out a Kettering Town on Thursday night in a game Aidy has said he felt the squad needed.

One position that we hope will be sorted is the centre back spot and hopefully we will get someone in this week, we wait to see who that will be.

Up The Cobblers!!