Cobblers defender Aaron Pierre says he is upbeat and feeling ‘positive’ after getting though his first 45 minutes of action since suffering a serious groin injury in December.
Pierre tore his groin muscle in the first half of the 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers, and, after undergoing an operation, was forced to sit out the rest of last season.
The player is now fully recovered and returned for pre-season along with the rest of the Town squad last week, and on Tuesday ventured out for a game for the first time since the injury in the 2-0 friendly win over Sileby Rangers.
Pierre, who prior to his setback had cemented his place as Ash Taylor’s regular central defensive partner in the Town backline, got through 45 minutes at Fernie Fields, and he admitted it was a relief to be back in action.
“I’m positive,” said Pierre, who signed for the Cobblers from Wycombe Wanderers last summer.
“Considering I’ve been out since December, my aim is just get to back to match fitness and make sure that I’m right and ready for the start of the season.
“I feel good and fit. That was my first 45 minutes since I picked up the injury and maybe there’s a little bit of fitness here and there, but that’s a given and I expect that.
“Everything else has been so far, so good and I’m looking forward to continuing that.”
The Sileby meeting came after the Cobblers players had undergone just seven days of pre-season training.
Town were 2-0 winners thanks to second-half goals from 17-year-old academy graduate Morgan Roberts and Sam Foley, but Pierre said the night was all about the team regaining their playing rhythm rather than the result.
“It was good to get out there,” said the 25-year-old.
“At the moment we’re just trying to get our rhythm back and work on our pattern of play and it’s always nice to win games so it was a positive start.
“My fitness is getting there. It’s all very ball-related at the moment.
“Pre-season is always hard and no-one really likes it but the gaffer’s bringing some joy to it by doing a lot of stuff with the ball as well as the fitness stuff.
“You have to do a lot of running and that but, other than that, it’s all good.
“I was delighted to see Morgan to get his first goal. He’s been training very well and it’s hard to jump up from youth level to the first-team, but he’s adapted very well and we’re happy to get a win on the board.”
Pierre is set to play another 45 minutes in the Cobblers’ second pre-season friendly on Saturday.
Town go to National League South side St Albans City (ko 12.30pm), and manager Dean Austin has said he will again, as he did on Tuesday, play two different teams in each half, and Pierre says he and the sqaud will be ready for it.
“We’ll have the same mentality for the game and make sure our pattern of play and our style of football is right and we improve on it,” he said.
“Last season was obviously very disappointing, but now we have to turn over a new leaf and make sure we have a positive mindset and then take that onto the pitch.”