Boss Rob is ready to turn over the first Page of his Cobblers career
Rob Page can't wait to get down to the serious business of winning points for Northampton Town Football Club.
It has been a long summer for the Welshman, who took up the mantle of Cobblers boss in the middle of May, just a week after Chris Wilder - the man who led Town to an emphatic Sky Bet League Two title success - had left the club to take the top job at Sheffield United.
The 41-year-old has enjoyed having the time to properly get his feet under the desk in the manager’s office at Sixfields, without the pressure of a match day coming round twice a week.
As at most football clubs, it has been a summer of departures and recruitment, with Page quietly and confidently going about the business of strengthening a squad that won league two by 13 points last season.
The fact the Welshman has been able to do that in his own time has been a big advantage to him.
He was not only able to take his time to bring in the players he wanted, he was also able to bring in the backroom staff he wanted.
Paul Wilkinson has come in as assistant manager, Paddy Kenny as goalkeeping coach, Andy Melville as head of recruitment and John Harbin as head of sports fitness.
Page has surrounded himself with a team he trusts, and has done as much preparation as is possible.
And with all that done, now he just wants the serious business of playing football.
“Pre-season is good, you get the boys fit and you enjoy coming in and working and playing the friendlies, but we are ready for the start of it now,” said Page.
“There is nothing like having the pressure of the three points on the game, and watching the players go out and do what we have done in training. I think we are all ready for the start now.”
And he added: “The squad has great characters, which we knew.
“Having spoke to Chris (Wilder), he said the changing room was excellent and it is 100 per cent, he was spot on.
“You don’t do what this team did last season without having good characters in there, and that is a credit to them.
“What we wanted to do from the start was add quality to the group, and I think we have achieved that.”
The Cobblers kick off the new campaign with a home date against Fleetwood Town at Sixfields this afternoon.
It will be Page’s first match as the Cobblers boss, and his first experience of Sixfields on a proper match day.
But one thing Page has plenty of experience in is managing at league one level.
He spent two years as Port Vale boss doing just that, and he is now setting his sights on making the Cobblers a force at that level.
Although he isn’t going to start setting any targets.
“We are not setting targets, and I think it would be silly to do that,” said the Cobblers boss.
“We are a football club that’s on the up.
“It was a fantastic achievement last season, and our aim now is to establish ourselves as a league one football club until the time is right for us to push forward.
“If that is this season, then we will take it, and we will grab our chance with both hands, of course we will.
“But we are not going to put that pressure on ourselves saying it has to be done overnight.
“We are a club that is on the up, and we want to take this football club to the next level, but we might have to be patient to do that.”