Boss Brady 'optimistic' Watson and Jones will stay on at Cobblers
Jon Brady believes there is ‘reason for optimism’ that key men Ryan Watson and Lloyd Jones will both agree to sign the new contracts offered to them by the Cobblers.
The newly-appointed Town boss wants to see both players stay at the club ahead of their return to Sky Bet League Two next season, and is hopeful they will want to continue their careers in claret and white.
Central midfielder Watson was one of the Cobblers’ most consistent players throughout the 2020/21 campaign, racking up 45 appearances.
The 27-year-old ended up being Town’s top goalscorer with nine goals, and also won the Chronicle & Echo Cobblers supporters’ vote for the player of the season.
Central defender Jones wasn’t signed by Keith Curle until the end of December, but he made an instant impact and was quickly one of the first names on the teamsheet.
The 25-year-old grew in stature as the campaign went on and ended up making 27 starts in just four months, forming an excellent partnership with Fraser Horsfall at the heart of the back four.
The pair were offered new deals when Brady announced the club’s retained list on Tuesday, and the Town boss is now hoping they will see their immediate futures lying at the PTS Academy Stadium, and that he hopes they make their minds up sooner rather than later.
Asked if there is any sort of deadline to them signing, Brady said: “There are several things at the moment that we have put in place with those players, because it can’t all be one way.
“There will come a point that, if it’s not what we want to hear, or we are waiting too long, then we will need to move on.
“But we are positive with both players, we are speaking positively, and we feel there is reason for optimism with them both.”
Brady has confirmed that Jones as been offered ‘much-improved’ terms, compared to what he signed in December, to stay, and that Watson’s deal is also a reasonable one.
But he believes it is what both players can achieve on the pitch, and with their career development, that may well sway their decision to stay at the Cobblers.
“If you look at Lloyd, he had fallen out of love with the game until he returned to the club,” said the Town boss.
“But since his return to the football club he has been excellent, and we have made him a much-improved offer despite relegation.
“I feel he needs to continue his progression at the club, where he feels valued. Another season of this progression, I feel would be perfect for him right now.”
On Watson, he added: “We have made Ryan a new offer, and I think we can continue to develop his game as before we arrived in the building, he had only scored one goal.
“He then scored eight goals in three months as a midfielder, so that shows that together we have improved his game.
"He has improved it and we have helped with that.
“We have probably played him in a position that suits him as well, and we are saying to Ryan ‘work with us for another season or two and help us get where we want to be’.
“In doing that we can help his career at the same time.”