Cobblers boss Page says selection headache is ‘a great problem to have’

KEEPING HIS PLACE? - right-back Brendan Moloney was outstanding for the Cobblers in his first match of the season on Tuesday night (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
KEEPING HIS PLACE? - right-back Brendan Moloney was outstanding for the Cobblers in his first match of the season on Tuesday night (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
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The midweek EFL Cup win over West Bromwich Albion saw the Cobblers produce their best performance of the season which has left boss Rob Page with a big selection headache for Saturday’s trip to Coventry City.

And that is how the Welshman likes it, saying ‘it is a great problem to have’.

All over the pitch what we want to do is create that environment where you can’t take your foot off the gas

Cobblers manager Rob Page

Northampton were excellent in their penalty shootout win over Premier League Baggies, with Jak McCourt, Brendan Moloney and Lewin Nyatanga all impressing as they made their first starts of the campaign.

Harry Beautyman also did well in a wide right role, and it all means that Page has big decisions to make over who plays at the Ricoh Arena in Saturday’s Sky Bet League One clash.

Gaby Zakuani, Sam Hoskins, Marc Richards and Aaron Phillips all started last weekend against AFC Wimbledon and were then left out for the midweek encounter, and they may be struggling to regain their places.

Phillips in particular will be keen to play at his former club this weekend, but if Moloney has suffered no reaction after playing on Tuesday the ex-Coventry man may be struggling, and Page says Phillips knew that would be the case when he signed on at Sixfields in the summer.

“Of course there is a decision to be made, but that is why we wanted to bring players into the squad that will improve us and take us further forward,” said the Town boss.

“Aaron has done well, and he knew coming into the football club that he is up against a very good right-back in Brendan Moloney, and I have done that in all the positions.

“Raheem Hanley has come in at left-back and he knows he is up against a very good player in David Buchanan, who I thought was outstanding on Tuesday, and that’s what we want.

“Lewin Nyatanga coming in makes it a fantastic competition for places at centre-half, so all over the pitch what we want to do is create that environment where you can’t take your foot off the gas.

“Because if you do, you know there is somebody of a similar ilk looking over your shoulder wanting your jersey, and that is what we have created which is a great problem to have as a manager.”

Page was delighted with how his team played in the EFL Cup win at Sixfields, and feels the players are beginning to really get to grips with what he wants them to do.

“I thought it was a progression for us on Tuesday,” said the Town manager.

“There are aspects of our game in the league campaign that have let us down and we have underachieved in, and that is not being clinical in front of goal.

“We have to take the confidence from coming up against a very good Premier League team, we scored twice, take the confidence from that and into the league campaign.

“I thought our bravery to get on the ball and play was there for everybody to see on Tuesday, I thought the personnel that came in made a big difference to us

“I think it will be an entertaining game at Coventry on Saturday, and one I am looking forward to, and I know the lads will be up for it.”