Byrom backs Cobblers team-mate O’Toole to star again

Joel Byorm (right) believes John-Joe O'Toole (centre) will shine again this season (Sharon Lucey)
Joel Byorm (right) believes John-Joe O'Toole (centre) will shine again this season (Sharon Lucey)
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Joel Byrom is backing central midfield partner John-Joe O’Toole to carry on where he left off last season when the Cobblers begin life as a Sky Bet League One team this weekend.

O’Toole was a revelation last season, overcoming the blow of being placed on the transfer list by manager Chris Wilder in the summer, to fight back and regain his place in the team, and then go on to play a starring role in the league two title-winning season.

The former Bristol Rovers man was a colossus at the heart of the Town midfield, scoring 12 goals and going on to claim the Chronicle & Echo’s Cobblers supporters’ player of the year award.

He will be one of the first names on manager Rob Page’s team sheet as Town go into their first league one campaign since 2009, and Byrom is sure he will rise to the challenge of playing at a higher level.

“John-Joe was brilliant throughout last season,” said Byrom.

“He showed just how hard he worked last summer, and he earned his right to get back in the team when Jason Taylor got suspended.

“Once he got in he never looked back, and to be fair he was one of the main reasons we won the league. He was brilliant.

“I certainly wouldn’t mind another 15 goals from him this season, and he will be fine.

“You know what you are getting with John-Joe, he works hard, he is strong, a big presence, and he gets on the end of things.

“He has a knack of getting goals when you need them.”

Byrom will be hoping to get the nod to start alongside O’Toole when Fleetwood Town visit Sixfields for the first game of the season on Saturday, but he knows he has competition following the arrival at the club of the likes of Harry Beautyman, Matty Taylor and Jak McCourt.

“The higher you move up, the better the players the club will sign and you just have to up your own levels,” said the former Preston man.

“Hopefully I will get a place in the team on Saturday, and then keep it!”

Byrom is also delighted to be back in league one as a player, and is delighted his gamble of dropping a level has paid off.

“I stepped down a league from Preston to Northampton, with the hope of getting back into league one,” he said.

“That has happened within a couple of seasons, so I am just going to takes things as they come, and hopefully things will work out right.”