Brady is putting himself in the frame for the full-time job at Cobblers

Town are the 16th best team in League One since Brady replaced Curle in February

By James Heneghan
Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 2:06 pm
Jon Brady has now overseen 17 games as manager.
Jon Brady has now overseen 17 games as manager.

Regardless of how this season ends, Jon Brady has already done more than enough to put his name in the frame for the full-time job.

The Cobblers registered their fifth win from seven home games on Tuesday night as Ipswich Town became the latest play-off chasing team to be sent packing from the PTS, following in the footsteps of Portsmouth and Oxford United.

Northampton remain odds-on to finish in the bottom four and return to League Two this season, but that should not be a reflection on the job Brady continues to do.

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He has battled a lengthy injury list and a punishing schedule to give Cobblers hope in their survival fight and only a remarkable and unexpected turnaround in form by both Wigan and Wimbledon is keeping them below the dotted line.

If the season had started on the day Brady replaced Keith Curle in early February, initially as caretaker and then until the end of the season, the Cobblers would be 16th in the table with 19 points from 17 games and a goal difference of only -2.

Admittedly, Town have played more games than most during that period and the table would be very tight, but it nonetheless demonstrates the strides they are making since the change in the dugout.

And whilst the attack continues to stutter - despite an improvement in terms of both chances created and goals scored - Brady has particularly tightened things up in defence, overseeing seven clean sheets in those 17 games compared to five in the previous 26.

Chairman Kelvin Thomas has some big decisions to make when this season ends but Brady has done his own prospects for the top job no harm, assuming he wants it.

For one thing, it’s clear the players enjoy working with both him and his coaching staff, chiefly Ian Sampson and Marc Richards.

“I think more than anything he has just instilled belief into us,” said midfielder Ryan Watson. “He’s given us the confidence to go and play and go out on the pitch and express ourselves.

“That’s what it comes down to really and I think it’s been there all season.

“Maybe performances haven’t always reflected results but I think they have more recently and that all comes from Jon, Rico and Sammo.

“They’ve given us belief to go out onto the pitch and show people what we can do.”

But the brutal reality is that the Cobblers are still staring relegation in the face unless they can pull off some big wins whilst others slip up in these next three matches.

All three remaining games look tough in the extreme on paper, starting this Saturday against a Gillingham side who still hold play-off aspirations.

The Gills shocked Peterborough United on Tuesday and will likely have former Town man Vadaine Oliver back in their ranks this weekend.

Oliver turned down a contract offer last summer in favour of Priestfield and you can’t say it wasn’t the right decision given his 18 goals and Gillingham’s lofty league position.

“Vadaine’s having a great season and I still speak to him quite a bit,” said Watson. “But hopefully he’s not on form on Saturday!

“It’ll be nice to see him but we need the three points and hopefully we can stop him from scoring.”

Captain Joseph Mills added: “You look around this league and and there are no easy games and I think that’s showed throughout the season with the situation we find ourselves in.

“You get to the back end of the season and you can take the table out of it in a way because people are pushing for promotion and others are trying to survive and it’s all on the line.

“We just need to make sure we come out on top.”