Cobblers trio are so excited for the return of supporters at Sixfields
Fans back for a competitive fixture for the first time in 2021
The hotly-anticipated return of supporters has added an extra layer of excitement for Cobblers’ players going into Saturday’s first game of the season against Port Vale.
Town were given a taste of it during pre-season but things will go up several notches when Vale come to Sixfields this weekend, with a crowd of around 6,000 expected.
Remarkably, captain Joseph Mills is yet to experience that feeling of leading his side out in front of Cobblers fans for a competitive fixture despite joining the club over a year ago.
The 31-year-old left-back missed the only two games to have supporters in attendance last season - against Doncaster Rovers and Lincoln City back in December.
But that will finally change on Saturday.
“It’s been a long time coming,” admitted Mills. “It’s crazy really. I’ve been at the club for over a year now but I still haven’t had that pleasure of playing in front of our fans.
“We had a taste of the fans in the friendlies and now I’m really looking forward to playing in front of them and I know the away following will be brilliant as well.
“It’s business time and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into it, especially with the first game being at home. Everyone can’t wait for that atmosphere.
“I’ve had it as an away player so I know how good the crowd are.
“I’m just looking forward to seeing as many faces as possible on Saturday and we’re working really hard to make sure we put in a performance that they deserve.”
Manager Jon Brady is equally excited as he prepares to take control of only his second game in permanent charge.
“It’s exciting and I think more so for the players because there’s an energy that the fans give and the players on the pitch can feed off that,” said Brady.
“They run a little bit extra, they recover a little bit better and you’ve got to embrace it, you’ve got to enjoy it and you’ve got to thrive off it.
“I’m sure a lot of our players are really looking forward to that but the focus is on how we play and what we do.
“But as a player, especially when you’re scoring goals and you’re doing really good things on the pitch and the fans are appreciating that and applauding you or screaming and shouting, you thrive on that and you want more and more. For them, it’s fantastic.”
Mitch Pinnock is one of 12 summer signings hoping to be handed his debut for the Cobblers this weekend.
The 26-year-old spent last season playing in front of empty stands with Kilmarnock in Scotland.
“Obviously last season was weird,” he admitted. “It was like playing pre-season friendlies during the season but this time, even for the friendlies when we had away fans, it was just great to have them back.
“I didn’t actually think we would have fans back for the first game at Sileby so that was a bit of a shock!
“But to have our fans back and behind us, for a league game, it’ll be great and I’m really looking forward to it.”