Boss Chris Wilder says the recent change of management at Derby County was a key factor in the Cobblers being able to snap up defender Josh Lelan.
The 20-year-old Derby-born player has put pen to paper on a 12-month deal at Sixfields, just a week after it was confirmed the Rams had parted company with manager Steve McClaren.
Wilder believes Lelan would have been close to a first team call at Pride Park under McClaren, but the former England boss’s sacking, and the appointment this week of former Chelsea and Real Madrid coach Paul Clement ‘pushed him down the pecking order’.
And Northampton have been quick to tie up a deal for a player they have had an eye on for a while, with the player being recommended to Wilder by his head of recruitment Martin Foyle.
“Josh is a right back who is mobile and athletic and he can fill in other positions as well,” said the Cobblers boss.
“He has a good pedigree, he has had a good grounding with Derby and he has had loan spells at clubs who play a good footballing style.
“He was close to Derby’s first team, but the change of management pushed him down the pecking order and he is keen to try and push his way into first team football.”
Lelan never made a first team appearance for his hometown club, but has made a handful of senior appearances in loan spells at Gateshead and Swindon Town.
His lack of playing experience is not a concern to Wilder, who said: “In a way his background is similar to Lawson D’Ath, a youngster with a good grounding and a handful of games under his belt from a few loan spells, and like Lawson last year, he is joining us at a good age.
“He has impressed me when I have seen him and he conducts himself well.
“He comes highly recommended from our contacts, Martin Foyle has done a lot of work on this deal and we are pleased to welcome Josh to Sixfields.”
Lelan becomes the fourth new signing at Sixfields this summer, following on from Alfie Potter, Nicky Adams and David Buchanan, and more will follow.
“We are in talks with a number of players at the moment,” added Wilder.
“We are down the line with talks with a goalkeeper and a central defender, and we are making progress in those talks.”