Cobblers boss Edinburgh delighted with selection options

Alex Revell could make a return to the first team squad for Saturday's trip to Fleetwood Town

Alex Revell could make a return to the first team squad for Saturday's trip to Fleetwood Town

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Boss Justin Edinburgh is delighted with his ever-increasing selection options as he continues the task of steering the Cobblers to Sky Bet League One safety.

Town travel to in-form Fleetwood Town on Saturday aiming to stretch their own mini unbeaten run to four matches.

Cobblers boss Justin Edinburgh

Cobblers boss Justin Edinburgh

After crucial home wins over Chesterfield and Swindon Town, the Cobblers claimed their first point on the road under Edinburgh at Southend United last weekend.

It was an excellent point from a 2-2 draw, and the Town boss saw his matchday squad boosted by the return to fitness of central defender Gaby Zakuani, who had been out of action since mid-January with a hamstring strain.

And there is more good news on the fitness front.

Striker Alex Revell is expected to travel to the Highbury Stadium this weekend, having not played since the 5-3 defeat at Milton Keynes Dons last month due to a calf muscle strain, and both Brendan Moloney and Luke Williams should be available for selection within a fortnight.

Looking at our bench last Saturday, I think it was the strongest I have had since I have been here, and that will increase we hope. They are the decisions you want to have as a manager, rather than the team selecting itself

Cobblers boss Justin Edinburgh

“I think we are getting stronger,” said Edinburgh, who has won three, drawn one and lost one of his five games in charge since taking over from Rob Page, who was sacked on January 9.

“We are getting people fit, and not picking up any more bumps or knocks along the way.

“Players that have been given opportunities are taking them, so it is the competition is becoming healthy.

“Looking at our bench last Saturday, I think it was the strongest I have had since I have been here, and that will increase we hope.

“They are the decisions you want to have as a manager, rather than the team selecting itself, and it always helps if the team are going well, as these things go hand in hand.”

As well as the obvious advantages of having a fully fit squad, Edinburgh is also happy with the different styles of players he has at his disposal, particularly in the attacking third.

As well as main strikers Marc Richards, Revell and Michael Smith, there are also the likes of Keshi Anderson, Gregg Wylde and Williams in the mix, and that means the manager can freshen things up and change styles.

He did just that at Roots Hall when he handed Gregg Wylde a start in place of Keshi Anderson, and it means the Cobblers are far from predictable when it comes to opposition teams trying to work out tactics and formations.

“I was pleased for Gregg because it has been frustrating for him, but he came in and I thought he did well,” said Edinburgh.

“We were able to rest Keshi, and he was disappointed to be left out which is the reaction I would have wanted, but I just felt with the amount of footbal he had played in such a short time, it gave us the opportunity to bring somebody else in.

“We were able to leave Keshi out and freshen things up, and that is what we are looking for as we move along.”

The fact the Cobblers have picked up their form and inched towards mid-table security in recent weeks has also allowed Edinburgh the luxury of not having to rush injured players back, with Zakuani, Revell, Williams and Moloney all being eased into the fray.

But the Cobblers boss is still keen to see them playing and again and pushing for the first team as soon as is possible, as that can only be good for the team.

“It has been a real plus that we haven’t had to rush them back, but on the other side we want these players back because it makes competition for places a lot stronger,” said Edinburgh.

“That’s what you need, you need people to be challenged and know that there is somebody on their shoulder and breathing down their neck, but in a good way.

“Once we can get that then I feel there is more to come from this squad and it will be better for everybody that the competition is in place.”