Cobblers boss Boothroyd happy to have options unlimited

HAPPY TO HAVE SELECTION HEADACHES - Cobblers boss Aidy Boothroyd (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
HAPPY TO HAVE SELECTION HEADACHES - Cobblers boss Aidy Boothroyd (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Aidy Boothroyd believes the influx of fit-again players to his Cobblers squad will provide him with a plethora of tactical options - providing nobody gets injured.

Town are due to get defenders David Artell and John Johnson back to full fitness in the next week and that will present the manager with several variations at the back.

For example, with Clarke Carlisle having signed permanently, the team could line up with three central defenders and wing-backs, and with Luke Guttridge added to the midfield department there are numerous systems the team could use there.

The loss of Alex Nicholls for the season to a double leg fracture does limit what Boothroyd can do in attack, but Clive Platt is getting fitter each week as he looks to correct a long-standing back issue and Jake Robinson and Louis Moult both provide food for thought.

“I’ve actually played more systems here than at any club I’ve been at and that’s more down to needs than because I’m a tinker man,” he said.

“You get the best out of what you’ve got and you have to take into consideration who you are playing.

“We’ve played five at the back and we’ve played five in midfield.

“We’ve had a four in there and a three and we’ve even gone really old-fashioned when we’ve been chasing games and gone two at the back.

“You need to look at who is available and the conditions of the game before deciding these things and then be prepared to change them during the game.

“I’m not one for being rigid, I’m quite flexible in that games do change and it’s important to have an armoury and players who can fit into that.”

Loan players Henoc Mukendi, Danny East and Chris Smith (who never made a first-team appearance for the club) have all returned to their parent clubs, but they were all wide players and Boothroyd is pleased to receive some experienced campaigners who can play in the centre of the pitch.

“The core of your team is where it all springs from and we’re in a good position there,” he said.

“We could probably do with another centre-forward because our liveliest front player is unfortunately injured at the moment.

“But we are quite strong down the core and that’s how I’ve always wanted it.

“I wanted it tight but strong with three players fighting for two positions.”

Adebayo Akinfenwa, with 14 goals, is the club’s leading scorer but the goals have started to be spread around the team in the past few weeks.

Centre-back Kelvin Langmead scored a late equaliser at Torquay three games ago, strikers Clive Platt and Robinson were on target on December 22 and Chris Hackett along with two own goals made up the scoring against Dagenham on New Year’s Day.

The fact the goals are being distributed evenly pleases Boothroyd, as do the own goals - a signal that the pressure the team puts on in the box and at set-piece time is paying off.

“I think the weather plays a part in that,” he said. “You get strikers who only score goals when it’s nice and sunny and then there are boys who seem to enjoy the mud and the horrible weather.

“We’ve got to make sure we can score from all kinds of positions, from open play and from set play.

“We got an own goal on Saturday because we got the ball in the right areas.

“As long as everybody is contributing, I’m happy. We’ve got boys on the bench now who can come on and score and that’s an important thing.

“You need to be scoring 70 or 80 goals in a season if you’re going to be successful and you need to be keeping 23 or 24 clean sheets over that time.

“It’s a mixture of both but it’s nice to see different people scoring and the more people we can get up towards the 14 or 15-goal mark the better.”

The Cobblers maintain their push for the npower League Two promotion play-off places this afternoon (Sat) when they take on Fleetwood at Sixfields (ko 3pm).