Cobblers close to agreeing new deal with defender Gaby Zakuani

Cobblers defender Gaby Zakuani
Cobblers defender Gaby Zakuani
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Justin Edinburgh says the Cobblers are close to a ‘conclusion’ on extending the Sixfields stay of central defender Gaby Zakuani.

The club announced its retained list on Tuesday, and stated that Zakuani ‘has been offered a new contract, subject to international commitments’.

Gaby Zakuani hasn't played for the Cobblers since injuring his hamstring in the win over Charlton on March 4

Gaby Zakuani hasn't played for the Cobblers since injuring his hamstring in the win over Charlton on March 4

Edinburgh wants to retain the services of the player, but the Town boss is concerned at how many games he may be away for over the course of next season.

The 30-year-old is captain of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and missed several games this season due to his international commitments, first by playing Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in the autumn, and then the finals themselves in January.

Indeed, the former Peterborough United man was injured while at the Cup of Nations, damaging his hamstring in the opening game.

He did return to action for the Cobblers in February, but suffered a recurrence of the injury in his second game back and subsequently missed the rest of the campaign, meaning he only played 26 games for the club.

Gaby has two World Cup qualifiers coming up, and then there are some later in the season and we are just trying to get the balance right

Cobblers boss Justin Edinburgh

As it stands for next season, DR Congo are scheduled to play World Cup qualifiers against Tunisia on August 27 and September 1.

The are due to play further World Cup qualifiers against Libya (Oct 10), Guinea (November 5) and an Africa Cup of Nations qualifer against Liberia on March 26, 2018, so it is a pretty hectic schedule that could see Zakuani miss several Cobblers fixtures.

It’s not an ideal situation, but one that Edinburgh is keen to resolve as he is a fan of the player.

“We are ongoing with Gaby, in terms of length (of contract) and finances, and I think we’re not too far away with that,” said the Cobblers boss.

“The big thing for me is Gaby’s international situation, and we are trying to come to a conclusion and an agreement on that.

“He has two World Cup qualifiers coming up, and then there are some later in the season and we are just trying to get the balance right.

“If we can get the commitment on that, then I am hoping that will be concluded in the not-too-distant future.”