Cobblers boss Dean Austin wasn’t entirely happy with the performance, but was pleased with the workout his players got from Friday night’s 2-0 pre-season friendly win over a Manchester United XI at the PTS Academy Stadium.
Goals in the final 17 minutes from Billy Waters and Kevin van Veen sealed the win for Town against a young and inexperienced Red Devils team, and the result means Town end their pre-season campaign unbeaten, winning six out of six.
Austin made 11 changes to the starting line-up from Tuesday’s 3-0 win over National League side Barnet, with a host of players given the night off, an although the match wasn’t the most entertaining or exciting, the Cobblers got the job done with a late flourish.
“The players have been fantastic, and worked really, really hard in pre-season, and everybody has deserved an opportunity,” said the Cobblers boss when asked about making those 11 changes.
“I wanted everybody to get as many minutes as possible under their belt, and it was a good exercise again for us tonight.
“We were looking for a game, and we were struggling to get a game on this date.
“We had some contact with Manchester United, and we are very grateful they brought a team down to play against us.”
United were organised and played some neat football at times, but they carried very little attacking threat.
The Cobblers had most of the efforts on goal, but their late double strike did come a little out of the blue as there was barely an attack of note in the opening 20 minutes of the second half.
“I wasn‘t particularly happy as the game started fizzling out for me at about the 65-minute mark, and we slowed the game down too much for what we want to do,” admitted Austin.
“But credit to the boys, we have spoken as a group and as a squad that there is more than one way to skin a cat, and there is more than one way to win a game of football.
“We are going to get asked many, many questions this season, and all I am interested in is trying to win as many games as possible.”
There was once again no sign of new striker Junior Morias, who has yet to feature since signing from Peterborough United a fortnight ago.
The Town boss revealed that Morias is in full training, but is not quite match-fit yet, but even if he had been the player wouldn’t have played anyway, for a very good reason.
“He wasn’t here tonight because his partner was induced and is having a baby,” revealed the Cobblers boss.
“Junior is working his way to fitness, and is training with us, but he had a complicated injury at the end of last season and he’s not quite there.”
The Cobblers players have been given the weekend off, before undergoing a full week of training before they entertain Lincoln City in the Sky Bet League Two opener next Saturday (August 4).