League two opener a journey into the unknown as Cobblers and Walsall show off host of new faces
With a total of 25 new signings between them over the summer, it is fair to say there are going to be a lot of new faces on show as the Cobblers kick off the new campaign against Walsall on Saturday (ko 3pm).
Under new boss Darrell Clarke, the Saddlers have recruited 13 new men, while Town under Keith Curle have signed 12, and a lot of them are sure to feature at the PTS Academy Stadium.
It is a scenario that has created a bit of a minefield for both managers as they prepare their teams for the opening-day showdown, and who exactly will be playing where.
But as far as Curle is concerned, he is relaxed about the whole thing, and believes he has a good idea of what newly-relegated Walsall will be all about.
“Everybody does their homework, in the same way as other people who have come and watched us,” said the Cobblers boss.
“They will have an indication of our system and personnel, the same way as we have of them.
“Within that, we have been mixing our teams up as well in pre-season, so selections are potentially difficult to pin down, but in my mind I have a decent idea of what to expect.
“I think Walsall will come and play in a 3-5-2, they will get men behind the ball, and they will be very competitive.
“They have got players in their team that, given time and space, can hurt you.
“There is a good tempo about their team, they like to close you down and they want to get on the front foot, and they want to get the ball forward for people to get after it and get into good areas.
“They are not too dissimilar to ourselves, in that they have a few new additions and I think they have recruited quite well as well.
“The season is not won and lost on the first day, but every coach and every manager will want to get that first win under their belts as soon as possible.
“From my point of view there is no better way of starting the season than getting a win at home.”
There is likely to be a familiar face in the Walsall team, with former Cobblers right-back Shay Facey set to start against his former club.