Bridge debut a silver lining in defeat for Cobblers caretaker boss Austin

Jack Bridge in action during is Cobblers debut at Blackpool on Tuesday night (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Jack Bridge in action during is Cobblers debut at Blackpool on Tuesday night (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Caretaker boss Dean Austin was delighted with the performance of Jack Bridge, who made his Cobblers debut as a second-half substitute in Tuesday’s 3-0 defeat at Blackpool.

On another dark night for a Town team that is now on the brink of relegation to Sky Bet League Two, a silver lining for Austin was the showing of former Southend United midfielder.

Bridge was introduced to the action for the final 20 minutes at Bloomfield Road, making his first appearance for the club following his signing back on January 5.

Former boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink never gave the 22-year-old an opportunity, only once naming him in the match day squad when he was an unused substitute in the draw at Scunthorpe in February.

But Austin, who recommended the player to the Cobblers having previously worked with him during his time as a coach at Roots Hall, wasted no time in giving him a chance, naming him in the 18 for his first game in charge at Bloomfield Road.

Bridge, whose previous action was on October 3 when he started for Southend in a 1-0 Checkatrade Trophy win over Reading, could do nothing to stop the Cobblers crumbling to another defeat as they made it 10 matches without a win in league one, but Austin was pleased with his contribution.

“I was obviously heavily involved in bringing Jack to the club and I know him really well and he will be a good player for this club,” said the Cobblers caretaker boss.

“The only problem is that since the minute he came in the door he’s had no games, so it’s trying to get him playing.

“As you saw when he came on, he’s quite bright and a very positive player and he has something to offer us, but he obviously needs game-time.”

Bridge could now be in contention for his first start for the Cobblers as they head to rock-bottom Bury in a must-win clash on Saturday, as Austin has promised changes to the Town team.

One player definitely in line for a return at Gigg Lane is central defender Ash Taylor, who missed the defeat at Blackpool as he served a one-match band.

Matt Crooks (hamstring), Brendan Moloney (knee) and Kevin Luckassen (back) are all doubts for the trip to Greater Manchester, as is right-back Shay Facey, who was forced off injured at Blackpool after spraining his ankle.

Defeat for Bury on Saturday will confirm their relegation, while a win for the Cobblers will keep alive their slim hopes of survival.