Cobblers Q&A recap: Pre-season thoughts, League Two predictions and more - your questions answered

Cobblers reporter James Heneghan is on hand to answer your questions ahead of the new Sky Bet League Two season.

By James Heneghan
Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 6:08 pm
Cobblers start the season at home.
Cobblers start the season at home.

It's just three days until Cobblers open their campaign against Port Vale at Sixfields and we'll cover a range of topics, from Jon Brady's transfer business to the team's performances in pre-season and expectations for League Two.

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Send in your questions by tweeting @James_ChronNTFC or emailing [email protected] The Q&A will start from 5pm.

Cobblers Q&A live

Last updated: Wednesday, 04 August, 2021, 18:09

Hello Cobblers fans and welcome to our new-season Q&A special.

Town get things up and running against Port Vale this weekend and we’re inviting questions on a range of topics from transfers, pre-season and more. I’ll do my best to answer!

The session will begin at 5pm. Tweet your questions to me @James_ChronNTFC or email [email protected]

By and large I think there's more reason to be positive than negative, particularly when you look at their performances against West Ham, Birmingham and Forest. They were the better side in the first-half against both Birmingham and Forest and likewise in the second-half against West Ham. I like the energy and intensity the team have played with.

There are areas of improvement to be had, clearly, and the one big concern for me would be defensive set-pieces. Birmingham had two or three clear chances at corners and Cambridge also threatened a few times last week. But I expect that to be tightened up over the next few weeks as all the new players settle in and build those partnerships, especially with Colin Calderwood now on board.

Based on pre-season, Mitch Pinnock would be one to watch. He looks a classy operator and has a terrific left foot. Most of Town's best moments in attack have come through him during the friendlies. Also like the look of Aaron McGowan.

Think Koiki might surprise a few this season. Mills will probably be first-choice at left-back providing he's ready to start but Koiki has really caught the eye with his performances. Has a lot of potential and still very young at 21.

As for the young players, I think they'll probably go out on loan but I can see Max Dyche getting a few minutes given there’s only three senior centre-backs on the books. He did well when he was thrown in last season.

Scott Pollock too could have a big season. He’s looked strong and sharp when he’s been able to get on the pitch in pre-season.

It's so hard to predict, this season more than most due to the amount of business that's been done across the division. A whole host of clubs have virtually new squads, including the Cobblers.

It doesn't surprise me that a few people have predicted mid-table because a lot of their signings are unknown and other clubs do look strong. I can see them making a steady start and slowly building momentum while the new signings settle in before hopefully kicking on towards the play-offs. To be honest they could be anywhere from top three to lower mid-table. That’s the beauty of it!

“The cobblers have assembled what looks to be a mature and experienced squad of players who hopefully have enough to get us promoted however what plan does the club have to make sure that we hold on to our better and best players after promotion. For example losing our back 3 last season and losing a load in 2016?” asks James.

Good question! I think that’s one of the reasons for handing out so many two-year deals this summer. They won’t be left vulnerable to losing players for free next summer, a la Vadaine Oliver and co.

Players coming and going is just part of being a lower-league club, there’s only so much you can do if bigger teams with bigger budgets come in for your players, but obviously losing your entire defence isn’t ideal. The change in structure behind the scenes has been done with continuity in mind, so if and when players do move on, they’re able to find a similar replacement and there’s not too much upheaval.

I understand Camron McWilliams is still on trial but he's been one of those to isolate so they haven't had a chance to have a proper look at him. Jon Brady is a fan and he could be a useful utility player. Will need to prove his fitness first though. Not sure about Jay Williams, the fact he wasn't even on the bench at Cambridge suggests they're no longer looking at him.

I think any style of football, whether it’s Keith Curle, Chris Wilder or Jon Brady, can be successful, it’s all about implementing it correctly and having the players to carry it out. One thing I think we can expect from the Cobblers this season is plenty of pace and energy.

I do like the fact that Brady is prepared to be flexible and not just have one style. We’ve seen that in pre-season - they’ve played counter-attacking football, they’ve deployed a high-pressing game and they’ve also played some decent stuff on the ball.

Chukwuemeka is on a scholarship contract which runs out in January. Northampton have offered him pro terms but he’s yet to sign. Other clubs have shown an interest in him but I think some of the recent rumours have jumped the gun somewhat. There was something about Spurs swapping Etete for Chukwuemeka but don’t believe that’s the case.

Things could change, especially if he doesn’t sign a new contract, but that’s the situation as it stands

Well, Goode’s the obvious one! I’ll go Vadaine Oliver, Callum Morton and Ryan Watson.

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