Portsmouth forward Ricky Holmes has become the latest loan addition for the Cobblers, and will be in contention to play against the team he supports - Southend United - on Saturday.
Chris Wilder has wasted no time in the current transfer window to secure the services of Holmes, who was named Pompey’s player of the year by their supporters last season.
The 27-year-old can play as a wide attacker on either side or as a second striker behind a more conventional centre-forward.
Holmes began his career in Southend’s youth team but made his name in the non-league scene with Chelmsford City, with whom he had a one in three goalscoring ratio and earned England C honours.
A move to Barnet followed, and then two years at Portsmouth, in which he scored twice in 62 appearances, the most recent of which was as a substitute against Accrington on December 13.
Holmes admits the transfer has come as a surprise considering his standing with the supporters at Fratton Park but accepts the time has come to move on.
“Portsmouth told me I could go out and get some games and it’s come from nowhere really,” he said. “I was playing every week and then we had a bad FA Cup game against Aldershot and they said they were going to look elsewhere.
“I was completely surprised to leave. I played 45-odd games last season and I’d become one of the fans’ favourites so when the news comes out down there I doubt they’ll be happy.
“But it’s been all change there this season. The gaffer hasn’t really stuck with his signed players and there’s a big squad there so he’s had to narrow them down.
“I think he’s been pressured into doing that and unfortunately I was one of the ones to leave but I’m relishing the chance to come to a new club, be wanted and show what I can do.”
Holmes will provide some competition for places for the club’s current wingers, Chris Hackett, Kaid Mohamed and Lawson D’Ath, and is confident he can excite the crowd at Sixfields.
“I’ve known Chris (Wilder) for years from playing against his sides and I always thought I would work with him. It all happened ever so quickly.
“It was done at 10 o’clock on Thursday night and I was down here in the early hours of Friday preparing for the game.
“I like to think I’m the type of player who can gets bums off seats, who can travel with the ball and excite people.
“Hopefully I’ll chip in with a few goals as well.”