So how good was the Cobblers’ transfer window business? Results will tell

Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

It’s safe to say there has never been a January transfer window quite like it at Sixfields.

Nine players in, nine players out - a deal done every 1.7 days throughout the month.

Joe Bunney

Joe Bunney

I doubt there were many other clubs, if any, who were busier than the Cobblers, with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink taking full advantage of his first chance to rejuvenate a misfiring and unbalanced squad.

The Dutchman took over the Town reins in September following Justin Edinburgh’s sacking, and spent the first four months of his time in charge working with another man’s set of players.

Edinburgh hadn’t exactly been idle last summer either, making plenty of changes himself as he freshened up the squad left him by Rob Page, who just a year earlier had also rejigged the playing unit.

It is fair to say the club wouldn’t have been wasting money if that had stuck a revolving door in the main entrance at Sixfields, such has been the turnover of players since Chris Wilder’s team claimed the Sky Bet League Two title just 20 months ago.

Competition for places is going to be intense, and Hasselbaink is going to have some serious headaches as he tries to field his best team every weekend

Jeremy Casey

To be fair to Hasselbaink, he never once made an issue of the fact he may have been unhappy with the lot he had been left with.

He never turned on the players, or felt sorry for himself, even when performances were clearly unacceptable in heavy defeats to the likes of Bristol Rovers and Oldham Athletic.

That ensured he got the results needed to at least keep the team in touch with those above them until he could put his stamp on the squad, which he has now done in some style.

The Town manager did his utmost to get the best out of the players at his disposal, and did well to keep the squad buoyant, onside and giving him their best, while in the background the wheels were clearly in motion to shake things up.

Kevin van Veen

Kevin van Veen

Hasselbaink, head of recruitment Andy Melville, chairman Kelvin Thomas, chief executive James Whiting and many others behind the scenes will have put in a lot of hours to acquire the manager’s targets with the backing of 5USport’s significant, but not extravagant, investment.

And it seems pretty clear that they have been very successful in getting the men they want.

Whether they landed every target they were aiming for we’ll never know, but I reckon it’s fair to say there were more bullseyes than air shots.

The squad prior to the turn of the year was horribly imbalanced.

Gboly Ariyibi

Gboly Ariyibi

There were good players there, no doubt about that, but there were too many central midfielders, not enough strikers, not enough wide players, not enough attacking flair - and most glaringly, not enough pace.

Well, following the transfer window, things are looking a lot different.

There is now options up front, and there is genuine pace in the wide areas both in terms of attack and defence, and a little bit of flair has been thrown into the mix as well.

The team looks like it will be exciting to watch again, something that hasn’t been the case since Wilder and Alan Knill headed north to Sheffield.

The full-back, central defensive, goalkeeping and striking areas have all been strengthened, and the many central midfield options are all still there.

But with the shake-up, it means players who were perhaps having to play out of position to plug in gaps will now get to operate where they perform best - if they can get in the team, which is not going to be an easy task for anybody at Sixfields.

Boris Mathis

Boris Mathis

The squad is also younger, with an emphasis not just on the here and now, but also on the future and taking the club forward.

The oldest outfield player signed was Kevin van Veen at the age of 26, and that speaks volumes for Hasselbaink’s intentions.

Competition for places is going to be intense, and Hasselbaink is going to have some serious headaches as he tries to field his best team every weekend.

He has a lot of options at his disposal now, an embarrassment of riches for a league one manager, and that should ensure that every player is performing at the top of their game throughout the week in training.

Because if they don’t, they know there will be somebody else will be putting their hands up to get in the team, and that fight for selection can only be good for the team as it battles to get away from the relegation zone.

And that is, ultimately, what the past four weeks has been all about.

That is why Hasselbaink has made so many signings, and so many changes.

Yes, it has been an exciting transfer window.

Yes, it has been great seeing so many talented footballers sign for the club.

But now they have to get on with the serious business of doing the job they were brought here to do - winning enough football matches to ensure the Cobblers are still a Sky Bet League One club next season.

Because if they don’t do that, then all the hard work of the past few weeks will count for very little.

Transfer window business

Ins (9) - Hildeberto Pereira (loan), Shay Facey, Jack Bridge, Richard O’Donnell, Jordan Turnbull, Joe Bunney, Gboly Ariyibi (loan), Boris Mathis (loan), Kevin van Veen.

Outs (9) - Lewis McGugan, Ryan McGivern, Matt Ingram, Billy Waters (loan), Marc Richards, Luke Coddington (loan), Alex Revell, Dean Bowditch (loan), George Smith

Current squad - 30 strong

Goalkeepers: Richard O’Donnell, David Cornell, James Goff

Full-backs: Shay Facey, Brendan Moloney, Joe Bunney, David Buchanan, Raheem Hanley, Aaron Phillips

Central defenders: Ash Taylor, Jordan Turnbull, Regan Poole (loan), Aaron Pierre, Leon Barnett

Central midfielders: Matt Crooks, Matt Grimes (loan), John-Joe O’Toole, Shaun McWilliams, Sam Foley, Yaser Kasim, Jack Bridge

Wide midfielders/attackers: Sam Hoskins, Daniel Powell, Hildeberto Pereira (loan), Gboly Ariyibi (loan)

Strikers: Chris Long (loan), Kevin van Veen, Boris Mathis (loan), Joe Iaciofano, Leon Lobjoit

Jordan Turnbull

Jordan Turnbull

Richard O'Donnell

Richard O'Donnell

Shay Facey

Shay Facey

Hildeberton Pereira

Hildeberton Pereira

Jack Bridge and Hildeberto Pereira

Jack Bridge and Hildeberto Pereira