Cobblers boss Page happy to continue to play waiting game over new signings
Boss Rob Page insists he is willing to wait as long as it takes to sign the players he has targeted to finish off his Cobblers squad ahead of Sky Bet League One campaign.
Town kick-off the new campaign in 12 days’ time when Fleetwood Town come to Sixfields, and Page accepts ‘there is still work to be done’ on the Northampton squad.
The Cobblers boss is staying patient though, and he is asking the club’s supporters to do the same as he works on securing the ‘targets’ that he and head of recruitment Andy Melville have their eye on.
Since taking over from Chris Wilder, Page has signed seven players permanent deals, the latest of them being Harry Beautyman for an undisclosed fee from Peterborough United last week, and the squad size is now up to 22.
But it’s widely accepted that the squad still needs strengthening in the attacking third, with the team’s attacking options from wide restricted by the sale of Ricky Holmes to Charlton and the departure of Nicky Adams to Carlisle United.
Page is all too aware what needs to be done, and looks set to use the long-term loan market to add the quality he craves.
“We are getting there, but there is still work to be done,” said Page.
“We have brought six or seven signings in, and there are still a couple more bodies we would like to see through the door, and there are targets in place.
“As I have said, I could bring three bodies in tomorrow if I wanted to, but would they necessarily be the right players? Probably not. We have to be patient, and we have to wait.”
The problem for Page, and all managers in the lower leagues, is the change in the loan rules.
Emergency loans are now not allowed, so it means if a Premier League or Championship club want to loan one of their players out, it has to be for a six-month or season-long stint.
The fact many players at the bigger clubs aren’t even back in training yet due to their involvement in Euro 2016, means that young players that are earmarked for loan moves are currently being utilised in first-team squads as managers wait to ensure senior players come back fit and ready for the new campaign.
It is a frustration for Page, but he won’t be rushing in to get lesser players than the ones he wants.
“In an ideal world, I want the players in tomorrow,” said the Welshman, who is confident all the signings will be sorted out before the season opener on August 6.
“I think the way clubs are going at the minute, following the European Championships and their international players being away, understandably they are protecting themselves by not allowing their better younger players to go out.
“Some of the ones we are interested in have had a pre-season with their clubs and done really well, so that is food for thought for the parent clubs’ managers.
“So we have to be patient. I would like them in as soon as possible, but they have done okay in pre-season, and the manager wants to keep them around for a little bit longer, and I will wait as long as I can to get the right people in.”
The Cobblers return to pre-season friendly action on Tuesday night when they host Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers at Sixfields (ko 7.30pm).
Page is looking forward to the game, and has confirmed there will be trialists involved for the Cobblers, although he is not giving anything away.
“It is an opportunity to maybe give a couple of players a game,” said the Town boss.
“I won’t give their names yet, we will see tomorrow, but again it is an opportunity for people to come in and give their best.”