Cobblers set to sign new keeper as Chris Dunn ruled out for Torquay opener

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IAN SAMPSON will today step up his bid to bring a loan goalkeeper to the club after it was confirmed Chris Dunn will not be available for the first game of the season, at Torquay United on Saturday.

But the Cobblers boss revealed he will not be looking at re-signing Middlesbrough youngster Jason Steele, who enjoyed a successful spell at Sixfields last season.

Dunn was scheduled to play in yesterday’s final pre-season friendly, against Premier League side Birmingham City a Sixfields, a game that ended in a 2-2 draw with Billy McKay and Liam Davis on target for the hosts.

The goalkeeper, who picked up an ankle ligament strain 10 days ago, made it through a fitness test on the morning of the game but then suffered a setback in the warm-up.

“We thought Chris would be out for 10 days but it’s now looking like it will be more like three weeks,” said Sampson, who rated his team’s performance in their final friendly of the summer as ‘okay’.

“So we need to see if we can get someone in to cover for a month. I’ve put a few calls in and already had a few knockbacks but we’ll keep trying.

“It’s not as easy as people think – at the moment we’re just looking for somebody who can fill the goal and help us out for a little while.”

Yesterday also saw the Cobblers wrap up the signing of left-back Marcus Hall on a one-year deal.

The defender has played in all of the club’s pre-season friendlies – bar the win at Corby Town – and has finally put pen to paper.

“We have generally been looking at younger players this summer but Marcus has an awful lot of quality and when we knew he was available and we had a vacancy at left back he seemed a perfect choice,” said Sampson.

“He is a first-class professional, he is a leader in the dressing room and on the pitch and having played all of his football in the top two divisions it is clear he will be an asset to us and the younger players we have.

“To be successful you need a blend of younger and more experienced players and when Peter Gilbert moved on we lost one of our more experienced players so getting a player like Marcus in is a big boost for us.

“He is a fit lad and he can do a good job for us. He has trained with us over the last few weeks and played in a few of the friendlies.”