Boss Rob Page has hailed the influence of midfielder Matt Taylor on the Cobblers squad, saying the 34-year-old ‘played like he was making his debut’ in last weekend’s 3-2 win over Bury at Sixfields.
The former Bolton Wanderers, West Ham United and Portsmouth star returned to the team after missing three matches through suspension, and he played a major role by setting up Marc Richards for the first Town goal and scoring the third himself with a glorious free-kick.
But aside from the player’s obvious quality on the ball, Page was also delighted at his physical endeavour.
“What Matty brings you, his enthusiasm and his work-rate, I thought was exceptional,” said the Cobblers boss.
“He played like he was making his debut on Saturday, and I thought he led by example and the free-kick was just the icing on the cake. It was exceptional.”
It was certainly a stunning strike.
With the ball placed at a tight angle to the right side of the penalty, Taylor whipped the ball up and over the wall and into the top corner, and spectacular free-kicks are becoming something of a trademark for the Oxford-born player.
Page was certainly impressed, and said: “I didn’t realise how wide out it was until I watched it back, and he had threatened to do it 10 minutes earlier with a similar one, but just missed the post.
“So for him to have the confidence to do it in the manner in which he did speaks volumes about him.”
Taylor has been one of Town’s star performers in what has been a good season to date, and Page revealed that he doesn’t just save his moments of magic for match day.
“In training last week we had a session where Matty s delivering the balls in and I saw three of the best goals I have seen in training, they were unbelievable,” said the Welshman.
“Marc Richards is scoring headers, with Alex Revell doing the same, and it is great because they then take that through the week and into games, and we saw that on Saturday.”
Taylor is set to continue in his midfield role in Saturday’s FA Cup first round tie against non-League Harrow Borough, with Page confirming he ‘will be going strong’ for the clash against the Ryman League Premier Division side.
Meanwhile, Gabrial Zakuani and Kenji Gorre will both leave for international duty immediately after Saturday’s game with Harrow.
Zakuani is joining up with the DR Congo squad for their World Cup qualifying game with Guinea.
It means he will miss the Checkatrade Trophy tie with West Ham United next Tuesday night, as well as next Saturday’s Sky Bet League One game at Gillingham.
Gorre has been called up to play for Curacao next Wednesday in a friendly match against S.B.V. Excelsior in Rotterdam.
Curacao is an island in the southern Caribbean Sea, approximately 40 miles north of Venezuela, and is part of the Netherlands, where Gorre was born.
The game is part of Curacao’s preparation for the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2017, a tournament for which the country has already qualified. Gorre will also miss the West Ham game, but will return in time for the Gillingham trip.