They have been having four training sessions per day in blistering hot conditions to get them to optimum fitness for the new campaign. Aidy Boothroyd himself has come out and declared himself delighted with the way the squad has knuckled down and got stuck into their new regime.
Players have commented on twitter after each day’s training that they can’t feel their legs etc. So by the time the season starts I have a feeling that we are going to have one of the fittest squads in Npower League Two. Boothroyd has also said that he has had a good look and evaluated the squad and knows where needs strengthening.
The final part of the Croatian pre-season was a behind closed doors game against third division Croatian side Novigrad. The game was played early evening, and proved to be a great test for the team as Boothroyd put it.
Novigrad had the first chance of the game when Halilovic found himself clear on goal but found himself denied by a great save from Neal Kitson, who has recently returned to club signing a contract until January 2013. The next chance came the Cobblers way when they were awarded a penalty kick on the quarter of an hour which was converted by Jake Robinson. Town were 2-1 up eleven minutes later with new signing Ishmel Demontagnac, he dribbled the ball across the 18 yard box beating two defenders and placed a shot past the Novigrad goalkeeper. Then in the 40th minute Jake Robinson converted his second goal of the game with a classy finish from just inside the penalty area. Then Robinson completed his hat trick on half time, a flowing move by the Cobblers, Luke Guttridge crossed the ball in and the ball was knocked down perfectly by Clive Platt which allowed Robinson to cap a fine first half performance. A Robinson first half hat trick shocked a lot of fans but as I put last week in my blog I knew there were goals in the Town striker he just needed to be played in his right position and managed properly.
The second half started with the usual friendly ritual of multiple substitutions, the home side pulled a goal back when Alen Alic turned the ball past substitute and youth team goalkeeper Dean Snedker. The Cobbler then made it 5-1 when a 30 yard pass from Ben Tozer was met by trialist Michael Hoganson who beat his man and scored with a near post effort, and no Cobblers game would be complete without a goal from last seasons top scorer Adebayo Akinfenwa who met a cross from Chris Hackett and headed in from six yards out.
So that was the end of the Croatian leg of pre-season and a comprehensive 6-1 win for the boys in green to bring back to the UK. We will not be carried away by this result, as we know tougher tests await, but it is quite nice to see such an emphatic scoreline in pre-season.
Now we await the pre-season friendlies on home soil, the first of which is against Corby Town at the Rockingham Triangle on Saturday. Corby have announced a new manager in the form of ex Cobblers boss Ian Sampson who will surely be fired up for the game as it will be his first game against his former side.
Up The Cobblers!!