Increasing the competition for places within his squad will be Justin Edinburgh’s number one priority this summer after the Cobblers boss questioned the lack of depth beyond his first-choice team.
Since taking over from Rob Page in January, Edinburgh has by and large maintained faith with the same set of players throughout his three months and 15 games at the helm.
There’s a good squad here but I’m not sure if it’s strong enough to push the players in the team and that’s what we’ve got to have.
Adam Smith, Zander Diamond, David Buchanan, Lewin Nyatanga, John-Joe O’Toole, Matty Taylor, Marc Richards and Michael Smith have hardly missed any action when fit, with Edinburgh reluctant to make wholesale changes even after poor performances and defeats.
The likes of Rod McDonald, Harry Beautyman and Jak McCourt have regularly had to make do with places on the bench while others struggle to even make the match day squad.
Instead, Edinburgh has relied on loan players, as well as youngster Shaun McWilliams, and ahead of his first summer at the club, he’ll be working hard to ensure that, next season, he has tough decisions to make all across the pitch, which in turn will challenge his players to perform on consistent basis or risk being dropped.
“I think you’ve always got to have one eye on your recruitment going forward,” Edinburgh said this week.
“That’s what we’re doing. First and foremost it’s about the players we have here, we’ve assessed them and we’ve given everyone as fair a chance as we possibly can.
“We’ll work to keep the ones we want to keep and that’s the most important thing and then obviously the next crucial part of the summer is the recruitment that we bring in and that we get ahead of the opposition.
“It’s going to be a big summer but one I’m looking forward - bringing players to the club to increase that competition for starting places within the team.
“I think that’s what we’ve got to look at. There’s a good squad here but I’m not sure if it’s strong enough to push the players in the team and that’s what we’ve got to have.
“We’ve got to have healthy competition and players need to know that they need to perform to keep their place and that’s what we’ll be looking to do in the summer.”
One position that has left Edinburgh scratching his head recently is the right-back berth where Neal Eardley, Aaron Phillips and more recently Brendan Moloney have all impressed.
Moloney was the latest to shine when brought back into the team for the visit of Sheffield United on Saturday, replacing the unfortunate Phillips.
“At right-back we certainly have an array of talent and the competition is fierce and in different ways they all offer a lot of positives,” added Edinburgh.
“It was a tough decision but those are the decisions that I need to be making.
“You don’t want the team to pick itself through not having the personnel to challenge - you need that healthy competition and that’s where we’ve got to set our standards.”