January transfer window always an ‘important period’ says chairman Thomas

Cobblers chairman Kelvin Thomas
Cobblers chairman Kelvin Thomas

Chairman Kelvin Thomas accepts the January transfer window is going to be a crucial time for the Cobblers as they try to turn their season around, but insists it is a time of year that is always ‘an important period’.

Manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has been told the finances are in place for him to attract players to the club once the window opens on January 1, and the Town boss has already admitted he has been working on attracting the targets he wants.

Kelvin Thomas, pictured Andy Melville when they were both at Oxford United

Kelvin Thomas, pictured Andy Melville when they were both at Oxford United

Aside from bringing in out-of-contract pair Lewis McGugan and Ryan McGivern, Hasselbaink has been unable to strengthen the squad he was left with following the sacking of Justin Edinburgh on the final day of the summer window back in August.

The Town boss is expected to be busy as he tries to strengthen the areas of the squad he wants to, but Thomas pointed out it is a time of year where the club has been active in the past.

“January is always quite an important period,” said Thomas, who oversaw a busy January transfer window last season, with Rob Page being sacked a few days into it.

“You have to remember that when we came up from league two, I think we ended up making nine changes or something like that in January, and they were quite important changes.

I think the players who have been performing quite well this season are ones that have come in recently, such as Ash Taylor, Matt Grimes, and they are players Andy would have identified. There are no issues at all on that front

Kelvin Thomas on head of recruitment Andy Melville

“We saw James Collins come in, Danny Rose come in, Johnny Marquis, and they were important changes in that period, with some players going out as well.”

As well as players coming in, there are going to be some leaving, with many of the current 29-man first team squad being starved of action.

“The reality is that it won’t always be our decision that players want to leave, there will be players who want to get more games or want to get more time on the pitch,” said the chairman.

“But we will handle those situations like we always do, and we will do everything professionally.

“I am very impressed with the work that Jimmy is doing in the background, and the effort and the energy he is putting in looking at targets, and the honesty in talking to players has been good.”

Thomas also said he is happy with the role being played by the club’s head of recruitment Andy Melville, who has come in for some criticism from supporters as the team has struggled.

The chairman believes Melville is doing a good job, and made it clear no player is signed on at Sixfields unless the manager wants him.

“Andy’s role is to identify players and, again, when results don’t go very well, everybody looks at this, that and the other,” said Thomas.

“But I think the players who have been performing quite well this season are ones that have come in recently, such as Ash Taylor, Matt Grimes, and they are players Andy would have identified.

“There are no issues at all on that front.

“A recruitment manager is always an easy target when you’re not winning games, but in reality we are a club where the manager will always have the final say.

“Andy looks at players, and will recommend targets, but the manager will make the final decision.

“Jimmy knows that, he appreciates that, and just as it was when Chris was here and the other managers as well, the manager is going to want to have the final say.”