Cobblers goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell has left the club and signed for Sky Bet League One outfit Bradford City on a free transfer.
The 29-year-old shot-stopper put pen to paper on a two-and-a-half year Town contract when he signed from Rotherham United in January, but a clause was agreed at the time allowing him to leave if the club was relegated.
Once the Cobblers’ fate was sealed and they dropped into Sky Bet League Two in May, O’Donnell informed the club he was activating the clause and would be on his way.
O’Donnell had been linked in recent days with a move to Championship side West Bromwich Albion, but he has been snapped up by league one Bradford City, who last week released their goalkeeper of the past two seasons, Republic of Ireland international Colin Doyle.
Signing on at Valley Parade, the ground where he made his Cobblers debut in a 2-1 win in January, certainly suits O’Donnell, as he lives in Yorkshire.
“Richard goes with our best wishes for the future,” said manager Dean Austin, who went on to explain the club’s decision to allow a contracted senior player to leave without receiving a fee.
“When the club was signing players in January, due to the nature of our league position and in order to secure the signings of one or two of the arrivals, the club agreed to clauses in their contracts when they signed that allowed them to move on in the event of relegation if an opportunity came up for them.
“Richard came to us soon after the end of last season to activate that clause, and he said he wanted to leave.
“He lives in Yorkshire and so geographically this move works well for him and his young family.
“I would also like to add that Richard and his agent have handled things very professionally and we part on good terms.”
O’Donnell’s departure is a real blow to the club and Austin, as he had established himself as a goalkeeper of quality in his 19 matches between the sticks for the Cobblers’ although in that time he only kept two clean sheets.
Town are back in pre-season training this week, and still have three goalkeepers on their books in David Cornell, Luke Coddington and James Goff.
But Austin has confirmed that he is intending to sign another shot-stopper, and that he already has one in mind.
“Now we have to move forward and this gives us an opportunity,” said Austin.
“We are looking to add another goalkeeper to the squad in due course, and that work has been going on in the background in preparation for this.”