FEATURE: Cobblers hoping West Ham midfielder Joe will have the ‘Pow’ factor
Joe Powell is a player who can ‘make things happen’ for the Cobblers.
The 20-year-old West Ham United midfielder has been signed on loan until the end of the season, and is in line to make his first appearance for the club in Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two clash with Morecambe at the PTS Academy Stadium (ko 2pm).
He is a player that Town boss Keith Curle has been tracking for eight months, since his time in charge at Carlisle United.
Powell has gone through the ranks at West Ham, having joined the club when he was ‘a baby’ as a six-year-old.
He is a regular in the Hammers’ Under-23s team, scoring seven goals to date in Premier League 2 this season, and also made his first-team debut in September, setting up two goals after coming on as a substitute in the 8-0 hammering of Macclesfield Town in the Carabao Cup.
Curle is excited by the creativity the Londoner can bring to the Cobblers ranks, and believes the youngster has the ‘hunger and desire’ to step into men’s football and shine at the PTS.
“Joe is a good player, a very technical player, who likes to play as an advanced midfielder and he can hurt the opposition with a football,” said Curle.
“He is brave, will get on the ball, and will be the continuity player at times.
“He can step into play, he can step through lines, he can break lines with his passing, and he is also competitive and can get about the pitch.
“He has a decent stature, has very good aggression levels and he wants to play football.
“The lad has an eye for a goal as well, he likes to operate and make things happen in the opposition third.
“Joe is coming here with the hunger and desire that he wants to impress, and that is the important thing.
“I spoke to Paul Konchesky as well, who is looking after him at West Ham, and he says part of his development is now going out and believing in his ability, believing in the foundations that have been put in place in his upbringing, and now showcasing them.
“He has the opportunity now to come out, play his natural game, and it is because of how he has been playing that has attracted me to bring him to the football club.”
Creativity has been something that has been lacking in many Cobblers performances this season, but the emergence of Jack Bridge in the number 10 role in the past couple of games has excited plenty of observers.
So will Powell and Bridge be able to operate in the same team?
Curle definitely thinks so.
“As a squad we still need to be competitive, and there are different formations we can play with attacking midfielders,” he said. “We can play two, three or even four of them in midfield.”
As for Powell himself, he is excited at the prospect of making a name for himself in senior football, and taking the next move in following in the footsteps of one of his best pals - Declan Rice.
The pair progressed through the age groups at the Hammers, but in the past six months Rice has emerged as a first-team regular at the London Stadium, and earlier this month scored his first goal for the club to seal a 1-0 Premier League win over Arsenal.
It has been a meteoric rise, and Powell admits that is still his dream too.
“Declan is a good pal of mine,” he said. “He is the same age as me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t look up to him.
“He has achieved great things, and we are all looking to try to do the same.”
A league two showdown with Morecambe is of course a long way from the Premier League, but Powell is still excited, and says he is also ready for the physical challenge of stepping out of academy football.
“Yeah, 100 per cent,” he said. “I think every player needs to go out and get some experience, which is why I have chosen now to make this move.”
And there is everey chance Powell will make his Football League debut against the Shrimps, with Curle confirming he will be involved in the match day squad.
“If I am bringing players into the football club, they are coming in to be available to play,” said the Town boss. “I don’t want to bring squad players in.
“We have reduced numbers at the minute due to injury, but give it a week or so there are going to be players back available, and I don’t want to bring in players to sit on the bench.
“I want them to actually perform.”