Wilder: Lack of training ground is holding Cobblers back

Chris Wilder feels the missing piece in the Cobblers jigsaw is a new training facility
Chris Wilder feels the missing piece in the Cobblers jigsaw is a new training facility

Cobblers manager Chris Wilder believes the club’s lack of a permanent training ground is limit their ability to progress.

Town are putting a structure in place to overhaul the Sixfields scouting department, and this week appointed Martin Foyle as head of recruitment with that in mind.

Foyle will also be tasked with identifying players for the ‘development squad’ Wilder plans to run alongside the first-team group next season, players he will use instead of making loan additions.

Several players within the main group are on three-year deals and medium-term planning at the club is gradually taking place.

But Wilder feels the missing piece in the jigsaw is a new training facility, and two or three sites have already been identified as potential bases.

“I’ve been bugging the life out of the chairman, but it’s essential and vital that it happens because I do believe it is holding the club back,” he said.

“The training ground is unbelievably important to me and Alan (Knill) because we feel we’re not just here to manage, we’re teachers as well.

“We’ve got to improve those players so they can come into the first team. It will save the club money and might earn the club money, and then we’re all happy and the chairman’s smiling.

“I spoke to Malcolm Crosby before so I know it’s been a struggle for a long time and I think it’s been a pain for the chairman, but we’ve got to identify a place and we need it now really, because at the moment we’re going up the park for a jog and I don’t want that to impact on our results.

“Medium and long term, if we’re going to put all these structures in place, making sure the video analysis and sports science is right, making sure we have the pathway through the academy into that development group, then players need a place to work.”

Wilder’s primary focus remains the first team but the development squad plans are evidence of his will to complete a long-term project at Northampton.

The players in that squad will be youngsters who have been released by higher-level clubs, of which the mould for success is very much that of current forward Lawson d’Ath.

“We believe there are players out there that we can attract to the club and develop when we get them in the building,” he said.

“We are an attractive club to young players for a lot of reasons and we are in a good location here, with a lot of clubs at higher levels near to us.

“We can’t always go out and spend the chairman’s money on top-end players, we have to be able to nurture our own too and then they become assets to the football club.

“It’s all about building the structure of the club.”