FEATURE: McCormack picking up good vibrations from Cobblers set-up
Alan McCormack knows he can’t guarantee his move to the Cobblers will end up being a successful one... but he believes the odds are well stacked in his favour.
The 35-year-old is certainly enjoying a late purple patch in his career. and joins the Cobblers fresh from winning back-to-back promotions with Luton Town.
McCormack is revelling in being a winner, and he is keen to continue what is proving to be something of an Indian summer at the PTS Academy Stadium.
Some may feel it gets tougher to choose the right club as you enter the closing years of your career, but the Irishman insisted it was easy to opt for life at the Cobblers once he he had spoken to manager Keith Curle, and listened to his plans.
“I think it is quite easy to know what you want, because I have been around quite a while now,” said McCormack, who has also won promotions in previous years with Swindon Town and Brentford.
“You know exactly what you want when you are around clubs that have had success.
“You know how the dressing room needs to be run, you know how the players need to be on the playing side, you know what you want from the coaching staff, the medical staff.
“It’s the all-round package, so when you come into a club and you go speaking to clubs, you can work out pretty quickly where they want to go, and how they want to do it, and whether you have a good chance of it.
“You can’t guarantee anything in football, but the one thing I get from here at Northampton is that they are going to try everything to do it, they are building a squad to try and do it, and I am delighted to be a part of it.
“Hopefully now we can go on and achieve success.”
So what did the Dubliner know about the Cobblers prior to signing for the club?
“I would be lying if I said I knew a lot, but I would also be lying if I didn’t know where the club could be,” he said.
“After last season, I have spoken to a few people who were in league two and I think Northampton underachieved and definitely should have been higher.
“A few people have spoken about the quality of the football they can play, and it is playing it every single week and that is something I want to come in and help do.”
McCormack has played for opposition teams at Sixfields before, and he said: “I think this is a great stadium. It is compact, and can generate a lot of noise.
“I have played here a few times and have good memories of playing here, so again that was something that just helped me make my decision.”
So what type of player can the Cobblers supporters expect to see when McCormack dons the claret and white next season?
“I just get out and I do a job, whatever is asked of me to do,” he said. “I will always give my all, I will wear my heart on my sleeve, and I can open my mouth at times as well.
“I can be a little bit agressive, and I do like to press and win the ball back and break up play.
“They would be the main points of my play, and I would be a sitting midfielder in general - getting up to the edge of the box and scoring goals has never been my strong point!
“I try to get other people on the ball, get your best players on the ball as quickly as you can, and stop other teams scoring goals and helping the defenders out would be my main job.
“Hopefully I can keep on kicking on and keep on performing to the best of my ability.”
McCormack has been signed as a defensive midfielder, but he does have other strings to his bow.
“I have had a few posiitions,” he said.
“When I went to Swindon, I started the first couple of games in midfield, but then we had an injury and I ended up playing the next 18 months at centre-half.
“I really enjoyed that. Paulo Di Canio was the coach there and he was very good, we did a lot of 11v11 work, which was positional based and being where you needed to be, so you pick it up really quickly.
“I then moved back into midfield, but then at Brentford I ended up going to right-back and had a pretty good year, so I am versatile.
“I understand the game now, I know how it needs to be played.
“When you are in certain positions you are not going to be number one best player in that position.
“But as long as you do the job that needs to be done, whether that be as a defender or a midfielder, you go out and do it, and you just learn from then on.”
One minor concern for McCormack has been his modest game time in the past two seasons, making 36 starts and three substitute appearances in two years.
That was down to a combination of injury and not being able to force his way into a winning Hatters team, and McCormack said: “I know there is plenty of life and plenty of games left in me yet, and I am just excited now to get back out on the pitch and play again.”
The former Southend United and Charlton Athletic man is also closing on a major persoinal milestone, as he is just a handful of appearances of racking up 500 senior games.
And he admits it will be a special moment when he reaches the landmark.
“It is close now, and I thought I might have got there last season,” admitted McCormack.
“I missed a few games towards the end though, so that ended up not happening, but I would have rather ended up one short and got automatic promotion.
“But it will come, I know it will come, and it has been on my mind for a while now, and it is an achievement I want to do. I would be very proud to do it, and I feel I should have got there a lot earlier and a lot quicker, but it’s not to be and you can only look forwards and not backwards.”