Crooks and Pierre set to feature as Cobblers prepare for Derby challenge

Aaron Pierre at the Cobblers fun day on Sunday. Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds
Aaron Pierre at the Cobblers fun day on Sunday. Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds

New signings Matt Crooks and Aaron Pierre are both in line to feature for the first time on Tuesday evening when the Cobblers step up their pre-season preparations with the visit of Derby County.

Northampton’s 10th and 11th signings of the summer sealed their moves to Sixfields last week but so far neither have been able to feature for the club due to a lack of match sharpness.

Midfielder Crooks was unveiled last Tuesday having completed his switch from Rangers while centre-back Pierre’s arrival, on a free transfer, was confirmed 24 hours before Saturday’s Maunsell Cup final against Kettering.

Now the duo are set to get their first experience of Cobblers action on Tuesday as manager Justin Edinburgh prepares for the ‘different challenge’ posed by Gary Rowett’s Rams.

So far Northampton have only played non-league teams in pre-season, winning two of their four friendlies, but Derby, who will be targeting promotion from the Championship this year, present a different type of test in what is also the first game to be hosted by Sixfields this pre-season.

“They’ll be involved on Tuesday.” confirmed Edinburgh when asked whether or not Crooks and Pierre will play a part against Derby.

“It’s a different kind of challenge. It’ll be roles reserved a bit with a Championship side coming to us so it’s a different challenge for the players.

“We might see less of the ball and we’ve had some different encounters over the last few weeks but with the next two league opponents we’ll certainly look to make an impression.

“And like I’ve said to the players, when that opportunity comes you’ve got to make sure you take it.”

After four successive away games, vice-captain David Buchanan is also excited to be stepping out at Sixfields again.

He added: “It’s good to get the minutes under your belt but it’s especially good for the new lads to get out at Sixfields in front of the fans.

“We’ll be playing a really good team who will probably be looking to get promoted to the Premier League so it’ll be a test of our shape and fitness, but I’m looking forward to getting back at out at Sixfields.