Captain Marc Richards has left the Cobblers by mutual consent, bringing to an end his five-and-a-half-year association with the club.
Richards, who initially spent two seasons at Sixfields between 2003 and 2005 as Town twice reached the league two play-offs, rejoined the Cobblers in the summer of 2014 on a three-year deal handed to him by then boss Chris Wilder.
The 35-year-old signed a new one-year deal last summer, but has found his chances limited in recent weeks, and has decided to leave to try and find a club where he will play more regular football.
Over his two successful spells in Northampton, Richards scored 63 goals for the club in 145 starts and 65 substitute appearances, and was top scorer in each of the past three seasons.
The high point of Richards’ time at the club was skippering the team to their Sky Bet League Two title success in the 2015-16 season, lifting the trophy in front of a packed Sixfields following a 2-0 win over Luton Town.
Richards has made 25 appearances for the Cobblers this season, but scored only one goal, in the 4-1 defeat at Charlton Athletic in August.
He last featured for Town on New Year’s Day, coming on as a substitute in the 1-0 Sixfields defeat to Wigan Athletic, with his most recent start in the 3-0 loss at Doncaster Rovers on Boxing Day.
Richards was originally signed by then Cobblers boss Martin Wilkinson from Blackburn Rovers in 2003, and his first two-year stay at Sixfields he scored 13 goals in 42 starts and 24 substitute appearances.
It took him 27 league games to get off the scoring mark though, eventually breaking his duck in a 2-1 win at Darlington in February, 2014, and a month later he had perhaps his most memorable match in a Cobblers shirt, scoring four times in just 21 minutes as Macclesfield were hammered 4-0 at Moss Rose.
The goals came between the 18th and 39th minutes, and he had a fifth dubiously ruled out!
Richards went on to score in the second leg of the heartbtreaking play-off semi-final defeat to Mansfield Town, before his second season at Sixfields was blighted by two serious knee injuries, and he was allowed to leave by Colin Calderwood in the summer of 2005 following the team’s defeat to Southend United in the play-off semi-finals.
After successful spells with Barnsley, Port Vale and Chesterfield, he was re-signed for the Cobblers by Wilder in May 2014 and appointed club captain.
In all he scored 50 goals in a very successful second spell in the claret and white, making 103 starts with another 41 appearances from the bench.
Despite some injury issues, Richards has been the club’s top-scorer in the past three seasons, with tallies of 18, 17 and 12.
Overall, Richards has made more than 600 career appearances, scoring 187 goals.