Jak McCourt is confident he will be able to produce his best football at the Cobblers now that he has the security of a two-year contract under his belt.
The past couple of seasons have been difficult for the 20-year-old, who after going professional signed successive one-year deals at Leicester City, before putting pen to paper on a six-month contract at Barnsley in April.
The lack of any sort of long-term security can be a real issue for footballers, and McCourt is delighted that he is finally going to get the chance to lay down some roots and have a bit of time to settle into life at Sixfields.
“It plays on your mind sometimes when you are playing,” admitted McCourt, when asked about how hard it is being on short-term contracts.
“I have had two one-year contracts, and then went up to Barnsley and was there for six months but didn’t get the chance.
“Now I am happy that the gaffer (Rob Page) and Wilko (assistant manager, Paul Wilkinson) have showed their interest in me and given me that two-year contract.
“I am going to move down here, settle down here, and put all my concentration into the football. I am looking forward to settling here and playing games.”
Getting regular game time is top of the agenda now for McCourt, who hails from Liverpool.
Since turning professional in 2013, McCourt has managed to play just 17 games, the bulk of them on loan at Torquay United, and he knows it is time he started to make his mark.
“It was vital to get the two-year contract at my age, as I am 20 turning 21, and this is what I need,” he said.
“I need to come, force my way into the team and then start playing games and then we can see where we can go from there.”
One big advantage McCourt has after signing with Northampton is that he has played under Town boss Page before, which is not something any of his new team-mates can say.
The Cobblers manager took McCourt for a month-long loan spell at Port Vale last season, and the midfielder played three times while he was there, obviously making a lasting impression on Page.
“I have a good relationship with the gaffer. He showed faith in me when I was at Leicester, bringing me to Port Vale on loan,” said McCourt.
“He has now shown even more faith in me by signing me here at Northampton.”
Another familiar face for McCourt will be his new assistant manager Wilkinson, who was at Barnsley working with the development squad last season.
“I know Wilko too, he came in towards the end of the season at Barnsley, and I got on really well with him, so I am looking forward to meeting back up with him as well,” admitted McCourt.
“It is a big bonus to have knowing the gaffer and Wilko. I have a good relationship with them both and I can’t wait to get going now.”
McCourt is a central midfielder, and will provide competition for John-Joe O’Toole, Joel Byrom and Jason Taylor, so how does he describe his style of play?
“I see myself as a box-to-box midfielder, but I can also do the holding role if the gaffer wants me to do that,” he said.
“I just like to get on the ball and play football.”