Cobblers winger Nicky Adams is loving life at Northampton Town after joining the club at the end of last season.
Signed on a three-year contract in May after being transfer listed by Bury, the 28-year-old has been one of Town’s standout performers in pre-season and he again impressed in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Derby County in his first outing at Sixfields as a Northampton player.
In a system that gives him licence to roam, Adams and his fellow attackers Alfie Potter and Lawson D’Ath caused Derby problems all afternoon with their movement and the former Wales Under-21 international hopes that is a sign of things to come when the season kicks off next month.
“I enjoyed it,” said Adams. “It was a really good game against a good side. They’ve got some top players but I think for the most part, especially in the first half, we were the better side and they scored against the run of play.
“The gaffer gives us a license to play and go and get the ball and I think the way the game goes now as an attacker you don’t have a fixed position – as long as you get into a good shape defensively.
“The way the boss wants us to play is going to cause teams problems because defenders can’t pick you up and you end up in little pockets.
“I think you saw today that we played some really good stuff – we couldn’t get the goal but even against a good side like Derby you saw they were having problems picking us all up, so if they’re having problems then hopefully teams in League Two will have problems as well.”
Adams also enjoyed the challenge Derby presented following Northampton’s opening three pre-season friendlies that were all against non-league sides, adding: “We’ve had a few games against lower opposition and that helped brush the cobwebs off but these are the games you want to play in.
“You want to test yourself against the top players and the top teams and I think we more than matched them today. They’ll be pushing for the Premier League so it was a real good test and we’ll have another one coming up on Tuesday against Birmingham.
“Of course it’s frustrating to lose the game, especially considering the way we played because I thought we played really well and you never want to lose no matter who you are playing against, but they’re a good side and we switched off for a second and they punished us.
“Other than that, I thought it was a really evenly-matched game and we’ll take the positives.”
Adams scored once in 44 appearances for Bury last season before he was put on the transfer list in May following the club’s promotion to League One. He admitted his shock at being transfer listed but has settled in well since signing for Northampton.
“It’s been brilliant. We have a great set of lads here and there’s a good camaraderie among the group,” added Adams, who was managed by current Cobblers assistant Alan Knill when he came through the Bury youth set-up in 2005.
“We all get along really well and that gets you a long way, especially during a long season. When we go to train on the training pitch and go into games I think you can see we all work really hard and we all know what we want to do and we all have one aim this season.”
Adams, who has also played for Leicester City, Brentford, Rochdale, Crawley and Rotherham, is now looking forward to Tuesday’s encounter against Birmingham City at Sixfields.
He added: “I think it’ll be a similar game because they’re another massive club and they’ll provide another big test for us but one we’ll relish.
“These are the games we want to play in – against better opposition. If we can take our game plan and do it against good sides like Derby and Birmingham then it’ll set us in good stead for when we play against League Two teams.”