Cobblers boss Rob Page says he welcomes the centre forward selection headache he faces ahead of Saturday’s Sky Bet League One trip to Gillingham (ko 3pm).
The Town manager is keen to stick with the system the team is using, a formation that has seen the Cobblers claim two league one wins on the spin, as well as dish out a 6-0 FA Cup thrashing to non-League Harrow Borough.
Rico wants to play, but he never grumbled, never whinged in training, and he has grabbed his chance and scored four in twoCobblers boss Rob Page
That formation sees room for only one central attacking spearhead flanked by two wide men, and looking ahead to taking on the Gills, Page is faced with the dilemma of sticking with in-form skipper Marc Richards as his centre forward, or reinstating top-scorer Alex Revell.
It is a tough call, with Richards making the most of his chance to lead the line due to a Revell suspension by scoring four goals in two games, and Revell having been one of the team’s strongest performers in the season to date, scoring eight times.
The manager certainly wasn’t going to reveal his hand in the pre-match press briefing, but he has said many times he is a believer in players retaining their place if they are doing the business, and it could be that Revell is going to have to bide his time before getting back in the team.
“Revs has been outstanding, but unfortunately for him he found himself out of the team due to suspension for an accumulation of bookings,” said the Cobblers boss.
“Rico has been the model professional off the pitch and just got on with his work and never once grumbled.
“I know for a fact he has not been happy with not starting, because he is a professional footballer and wants to feel that he is earning his money, that is the type of character he is.
“He wants to play, but he never grumbled, never whinged in training, and he has grabbed his chance and scored four in two.
“Irrespective of what level he is playing against, given an opportunity the ball has ended up in the back of the net and that is what centre forwards are judged on, and what they bring to the team.
“So all credit to him, he has done well and it is a great headache for me to have, to have Marc Richards scoring goals, and Alex Revell, with his qualities and the goals he has scored this season.
“I would rather be sat here having this problem than having a centre forward who’s not scoring.”
The pair have played together on few occasions this season, although the last time they did so proved to be a bit of a nightmare for all concerned as the Cobblers were thumped 3-0 at Peterborough United.
Page isn’t ruling out Richards and Revell both getting the nod in the future, but he hinted he will be sticking to the team’s winning template for now.
Asked he if would contemplate altering the system to accommodate both strikers, Page said: “It is an option, and we know they can play together.
“I think it was Scunthorpe away where I put Rico on and put Revs on the left of a three, so I know they can play together.
“But while we are scoring goals at the minute with the shape we are playing, would we change it?
“It is food for thought, of course it is, but we have a formation at the minute that is working.
“We are the second highest scorers in the division by playing the way we are playing, and against Bury we had three out-and-out centre forwards (Richards, JJ Hooper, Sam Hoskins) on the pitch.
“We are very positive in how we are going about our work, so we will keep doing that until we need to change.”