Cobblers face race to ensure they're ready for season opener

Colin West.Colin West.
Colin West.
Pandemic coupled with play-off success has shortened pre-season campaign for Cobblers

Assistant boss Colin West admits the Cobblers face a race against time to ensure they're ready for next week's season-opening game against Cardiff City.

The Cobblers have played just two friendlies so far, plus a practice match versus the youth team, ahead of Saturday's final pre-season game against Championship side Luton Town.

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It's then straight into competitive action with Cardiff City the visitors for a Carabao Cup tie on September 5 before Cobblers play MK Dons (Sep 8) in the EFL Trophy and AFC Wimbledon (Sep 12) in their League One opener.

"It's coming around quickly," admitted West. "The first league game is obviously on September 12th but we've got a couple of cup games before that so we have to make sure we get up to speed with everything in terms of the players and stuff like set-play routines.

"It's something that most clubs have had to deal with so we're all in the same position. Some clubs have come back earlier - Leyton Orient were back training two weeks before us - because we were obviously in the play-offs so it's been a little bit strange and a little bit difficult but it's something that we have to deal with."

West expects manager Keith Curle to name a strong side against the Hatters this weekend.

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"I think we will still rotate with certain players because of injuries to muscles and everything else, but we will probably want to cement a team that we've got in our mind," he said.

'"We have to be ready (for the first game of the season). Everybody playing in our league and the league below are in the same situation."

On the search for new signings, West admits it's not been straightforward.

"It's difficult because there's not a lot of games we can actually get into to watch players perform," he added.

"We've obviously got our targets that we had from last season but it's like anything - it's tough to actually get them into the building."

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