Cobblers signing Raheem Hanley is looking forward to the challenge of playing senior football at last.
The 22-year-old has been in professional football since leaving school, but despite starting out as a youth trainee at Manchester United and then signing contracts at both Blackburn Rovers and Swansea City, he has yet to make his senior debut.
Without any sort of loan move on his CV, Hanley’s playing action has been restricted to youth and under-21 football, and he admits it is now time he stepped up to the men’s game.
Asked if making that long-awaited senior debut was one of the key reasons for joining the Cobblers, Hanley said: “That is the plan.
“I have played a lot of under-21 games and now I think it is time to try and showcase myself against men.
“The main thing for me is getting in (at Northampton) and getting started, and hopefully I can do enough to catch the manager’s eye.”
Hanley has signed a two-year deal at Sixfields after spending two years with Premier League outfit Swansea.
The player knows this is a key move as far as his career is concerned, and he believes Cobblers boss Rob Page is the man who can help his career blossom at last.
“I left Swansea at the end of the season, and there was some interest from Northampton which was definitely something I was interested in and wanted to pursue,” said Hanley.
“I met with Robert Page not so long ago, we had a good chat, and I thought this would be the right place for me.
“Some of the stuff we talked about, I just felt he will be the right person to get the best out of me, and that was a big part of me signing.”
It’s fair to say Hanley is still going to have his work cut out to get that first senior start, as to do it he is going to have to get past Dave Buchanan, who started every single game at left-back for Northampton last season.
Hanley is looking forward to the challenge.
“It is always good to have competition to try and get the best out of each other, and that is definitely something I am going to try and do,” he said.
“I am going to try and push him (Buchanan), and hopefully he can push me on too.”