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Gripped by the Cobblers: Town need to stop talking and start playing

Tom Reed’s view on the Cobblers’ urgent need to put together a performance for their manager…

Strange times at Sixfields with Cobblers 5th from bottom in the basement division. The league placing is par for the course but normally the manager would be getting it in the neck yet it’s the Northampton players who are bearing the brunt of fans’ frustrations.

Expected goals statistics have Town way out in front in League 2 so it could be argued that Dean Austin is doing his job. The players? Not so much after Saturday’s woeful 3-1 home defeat to Cheltenham.

What the Town team are good at is talking to the media incessantly in clichés about how they are going to turn the season around and then playing like idiots straight after.

Stalwart left-back Dave Buchanan has talked up Cobblers gaffer Austin, comparing him to the legend Chris Wilder but there didn’t appear to be too many busting a gut for their great leader against Cheltenham.

In fact, a few put in the kind of showing that could get him the sack. To be fair to Buchanan, he has been one of Town’s more steady performers but football is a results game and the results are poor.

Embattled captain Ash Taylor then came out and batted off suggestions that he has suffered a dip in form when anyone with eyes can see it is the case.

There is only one way for players to turn the club’s and their own fortunes around and that is to play football well. Unhappy and want a move? Play well and get some interest. Negative crowd and you want some cheers? Play well and make them applaud you.

Obviously, local media outlets need content but would the world stop turning if Cobblers players just shut up for a while and started doing their talking on the pitch? Talk is cheap and Town players are at Poundland levels with their media work at present.

Where’s the vision at NTFC? Look to the Saints and the University

It’s all quiet on the Sixfields front at the moment. Some fans are content at complaining about the on pitch fare but others are still looking at the bigger picture and the lack of movement on the stadium redevelopment. The East Stand remains a shell while the former athletics track behind is an unsightly, embarrassing mess.

But will finishing what is a tin pot stand from the brains of the Cardozas set Town on a course of progression for the next 30 years? Doubtful. Looking at Sixfields it would make a fine site for a stadium for Northampton Saints Rugby. They would be able to bring together the 1st rate enabling leisure development that has so far eluded everyone from the Cobblers camp.

Of course such a deal would have to mean that Cobblers come out with a better ground than Sixfields currently. Whether that means a swap deal for Franklins Gardens or funds for a new build closer to the Town centre is open to debate. Kelvin Thomas was recently shown around the amazing new University of Northampton waterside campus and a new stadium at midsummer meadow would really regenerate that area of the town. Coupled with a training facility at the University a vision for Northampton Town might begin to emerge.

Where’s the youth?

Cobblers boss Dean Austin heralded Northampton’s youth prospects as a key part of his philosophy in injecting some identity in the club. Yet, Kings Heath lad Shaun McWilliams aside, Town’s youth prospects haven’t broken into the first team as hoped. Even the unmentionable Checkatrade Trophy saw a surfeit of senior players in Town’s recent loss to Wycombe.

Surely now is the time to knit the like of Jay Williams, Sean Whaler, Morgan Roberts, Jack Daldy and Joe Iaciofano into the first team squad. Coming up through the youth ranks breeds a pride in the shirt and my God do our older lot need some competition for their places.

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