New head of recruitment Andy Melville has revealed he and Cobblers boss Rob Page are already hard at work trying to bring in the signings that will boost the first team squad at Sixfields.
Melville was officially unveiled as Northampton’s head of recruitment on Thursday morning, but he has been been working at Sixfields since the back end of the club’s Sky Bet League Two title-winning campaign.
A former Wales international team-mate of Page, Melville was brought in to replace John Dreyer, and after seeing the team operate in the final few weeks of the season under Chris Wilder (who he was first team coach to at Oxford United) he is well aware not too much tinkering with the squad is needed.
Like manager Page, Melville says he wants to bring in the extra ‘quality’ for the challenge that lies ahead of playing up a level in Sky Bet League One, and says he and his former team-mate are getting close to making that first signing.
“I always say, that for myself, this is the time I come alive,” said Melville, when asked if the early weeks of the close season are a busy time for him.
“The coaching staff are still involved in it as well, and the season doesn’t really stop for everyone concerned and we are working hard behind the scenes.
“It is pretty quiet at the minute, but hopefully in the coming weeks we can have some signings for Northampton Town, which would be great.
“They were big on team spirit here last season, and the confidence that grew and the momentum, so we are only going to touch base with that a little bit, and fine tune it.
“We are working towards that right now. We are very busy with emails, phone calls and touching base with contacts.
“We are just trying to set up player meetings and stuff like that, so it is all good.
“We are striving towards it, and getting there and making forward movements.”
The only movement at Sixfields so far this summer has been through the exit door, with Nicky Adams’ surprise free transfer to Carlisle United on Tuesday following on from the release of Josh Lelan, Paul Corry, Chris Hackett and Evan Horwood last week.
But Melville and Page are working hard an bringing in players the other way.
Contacts is key to any player recruitment, with coaches and managers needing to be able to trust the views of others as well as judging with their own eyes, and Melville says he and Page are very strong in that department.
“When I was at Oxford for five years as the first team coach, I did a lot of recruitment there as well,” said Melville, who was first team coach at the Kassam, working under Wilder and current chairman Kelvin Thomas.
“You get to know players in and around the lower leagues, so I have a decent knowledge and hopefully I can help the situation we are in at Northampton.
“There’s not a club out there that either myself or Rob won’t have a contact in.
“We always have a contact in each club, and it’s good to know that so you can pick the phone up and you can relate to it, and it makes it a lot easier.”
Another thing that will make things easier is that Melville and Page already enjoy a close relationship, thanks to the fact the pair made up a central defensive partnership for their country.
“We got on well, and I think we had an 18-month period where we played alongside each other for Wales,” said Melville.
“We had a good understanding on the pitch, and so far so good off it.”