At around 10pm last night, a spike of activity on Twitter seemed to forecast the imminent signing of ex-Brighton and Shrewsbury man Jake Robinson for Northampton and sure enough at just after 3pm this afternoon the news of another impressive coup was confirmed.
Robinson, 24, scored 16 goals during the 2010/11 campaign, 9 of those came for parent club Shrewsbury with the remainder coming during a loan spell at Torquay. Indeed, two of those goals for the Shrews came against Northampton as part of a classy display from the front-man in the fixture at Greenhous Meadow in September.
He joins former talisman Adebayo Akinfenwa, who is preparing for his second spell at Sixfields, as well as Shaun Harrad, Billy McKay, injury plagued Tadhg Purcell and potentially Michael Uwezu. Indeed, the Cobblers’ League Two rivals should make no mistake that next year, these players will terrorise their defences.
With chairman David Cardoza announcing this week that Town are now in the business of paying agents fees, it seems that despite a lowly 16th place finish in the league last season there may not be as big a blow to making the club an attractive proposition to the bigger names amongst this summers crop of free agents. As we’ve already seen with the likes of Akinfenwa and now Robinson joining.
However, with Gary Johnson told he will have to work with the same wage budget that Ian Sampson had this time last year it is likely that there may not be too many more permanent switches to Sixfields made this summer, especially if rumoured targets Arron Davies and former loan man Ben Tozer sign on the dotted line.
In past seasons, it has been the case that the conclusion of bringing in forwards signals the end of shopping in the summer window, but the exodus of the squad bought about by the retained list in May means that this pre-season that will be far from the case.
The club have just 3 defenders definitely on the books for next season currently. Those include forward thinking John Johnson, right-winger Seth Nana and the unproven Byron Webster. And even if the rumoured move for Newcastle player Tozer comes off that still leaves a very frail looking defence.
The situation in midfield isn’t that much better either. With Ryan Gilligan still expected to leave the club over the summer, there are six midfielders under contract for next season, but two of those are the untested Greg Kaziboni and Michael Built. Elsewhere is Andy Holt, who certainly has another season in him, but saw his chances limited after the arrival of GJ who offered him a coaching role. That leaves Kevin Thornton, Nathaniel Wedderburn and Michael Jacobs.
Unless the chairman and manager have been telling fibs about the amount of money they are planning to spend this summer, I predict that Robinson and McKay can be expected to deputise on the wings behind the first choice starting line-up of Akinfenwa and Harrad. If the Cobblers’ succeed in adding Arron Davies to their ranks the picture may look a lot rosier in midfield but I’d like to see an Ian Taylor style addition to our midfield if the class of 2012 are one which are to challenge for promotion.
In terms of goalkeeping I think we can expect to see Chris Dunn back between the sticks next season, but should he go his wages will hopefully pave the way for a move for talented ex-Barnet keeper Jake Cole who is still searching for a new club.
With that in mind, here’s a preview of how the first XI shaping up based on players who are confirmed for the new season.
I’ve used a 4-3-3 formation based on the squad NTFC currently boast. This will change in accordance with signings such as Tozer and Davies and throughout the summer as Gary Johnson’s new look side becomes more apparent.
Agree? Disagree? Tweet me @cobblersblog or comment below now!