Cobblers boss Page ready to '˜mix it up' to succeed in league one

Rob PageRob Page
Rob Page
Rob Page says the Cobblers will be mixing it up as they try to make their mark in Sky Bet League One next season.

The new Northampton Town boss was unveiled as the replacement for Chris Wilder last week.

It is his second managerial post, with the 41-year-old having been in charge at Port Vale for 20 months ahead of making the switch to Sixfields.

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He led Vale to a 12th-place finish in league one in the season that has just finished, and knows what it takes to be competitive at that level.

Page is confident the Cobblers have the tools to compete, and has outlined the style of play he is keen to see his team produce.

The former Wales international says he wants the Cobblers to be an entertaining team to watch, to get the ball down and play - but to also be able to do the dirty work if required.

“I do like to get the ball down and play, but at the lower two levels you have to compete as well, and compete in both boxes so we have to mix it up,” said Page.

“My team last year did do that.

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“We did compete, and we did both sides of the game really well.

“We knew when we had to get the ball down and play, but on the other side of it if we had to dig a trench and put our tin hats on then you have to do that.

“You have to manage each game, and each game is different, but in the main, all supporters want to see is entertaining games, and us winning games of football.”

Page played at all levels of English football, from league two to the Premier League, so is well placed to highlight the difference in quality between league two and league one.

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He accepts there is a gap in quality between the bottom two divisions of the Football League ladder, but the fact that the Cobblers have just won league two by a massive 13 points fills the new Town boss with confidence that the difference can be made up.

“The gap from league one to the championship is far greater than the jump from the league two to league one, and that is not being disrespectful to league one,” said Page.

“It is a competitive league, there are some fantastic football clubs in the division that are filtering down from the Premier League and the championship.

“Obviously the quality of player is better in league one, and instead of maybe two or three chances being offered before the ball is in the back of the net, there are one or two and you are punished.

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“The quality is better, but with what the team has done in league two, that fills me with confidence.”

Page appears to have taken easily to management, having spent three years in various coaching positions at Vale Park, from youth team coach to assistant manager.

He cites the man who took him to Vale Park, Micky Adams, as having been a big influence on him, but as he also played more than 500 games he has worked under plenty of managers, with two more than most making a big impression.

“I worked under Graham Taylor at Watford, and Kenny Jackett, who is now Wolves manager,” said Page, who also played 41 times for Wales.

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“I still speak to Kenny quite a bit if I need to talk about something, or need a little bit of advice, I will touch base with Kenny, and Graham Taylor to a lesser degree.

“Then there is people like Micky Adams from when I first went into Port Vale as youth team coach.

“I had the perfect transition from playing to youth team coach, to then being stood on the side watching how other managers work, and it has been a great transition for me.”

He will now be hoping to stamp his style on the Cobblers.

The Town boss will be a stranger to the majority of the Northampton squad, but there is one familiar face for Page in club skipper Marc Richards, and he is delighted to be working with him again.

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“I know Rico from when I first went into Port Vale five years ago,” said Page.

“I went in as youth team coach to start off with, and I knew about Rico and worked with him, and the intensity he trains at is what he does in the game as well.

“It is characters like that you need around.”