Brady and Leonard discuss midfielder's new attacking role and whether it'll be a long-term option for Cobblers
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Manager Jon Brady says it’ll be a case of ‘horses for courses’ when asked if Marc Leonard will continue to operate in an attacking midfield role following his impressive performance during Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Burton Albion.
Jack Sowerby, making his first start since September, played alongside Shaun McWilliams at the base of midfield which allowed Leonard to be pushed further forward, and the Brighton loanee was one of the standout performers in a strong team display.
He created the best opening of the first half at Sixfields and then nudged Cobblers ahead with an excellent long-range strike shortly after the restart before twice being denied by smart stops from Burton goalkeeper Max Crocombe as the home side dominated the second period.
"Marc was really good,” said Brady. “He played higher up the pitch and locked onto Joe Powell. I set him a bit of a challenge and we had a laugh and joke at the end because I'm not sure if it was an assist instead of a goal!
"But it was certainly his goal and I'm really pleased for him because he ran forward and he played forward really well and we all know he's got great ability and it worked well for us today.
"There were a lot of things that happened today which we worked on during the week and the boys have to implement it on the pitch and they did that so full credit to them.”
On whether Leonard’s new role will be permanent, Brady added: "It'll be horses for courses. I'm not going to overstate it but that's how we wanted to play today and having Jack back was a huge bonus for us and he was brilliant as well.”
Leonard himself seemed to thrive in the position, and his quality on the ball provided Cobblers with extra creativity and guile in the final third, something they have lacked in recent weeks.
The 21-year-old said: "The manager spoke to me in the week and he mentioned that he wanted to push me a little bit further forward with Jack coming back into the team.
"I’ve done that before and it’s a role I’m comfortable with and I think it worked well today. I have a responsibility off the ball to make sure their deep-lying midfielder wasn’t controlling the game and that went quite well because he wasn’t able to dictate the game.
"Me and Kieron (Bowie) were able to nullify that threat and that enabled us to dictate the play and get on top of them more. I really enjoyed playing higher up and I think I suit that position because I can slip passes in and create a few chances. I was glad to score but I should have had another one.”