'˜Still work to be done' as Cobblers boss Edinburgh says his mind is made up on players' futures
Justin Edinburgh knows his team is within touching distance of ensuring their survival in Sky Bet League One, but insists '˜there is still more work to do'.
The Cobblers boss has overseen a strong recovery since taking over from Rob Page in January, steering the team from the fringes of the relegation zone to mid-table safety.
Town clocked up their 50th point of the campaign after drawing 0-0 with Oxford United last weekend, they are a healthy six points clear of the drop zone and know that a win in Saturday’s trip to Rochdale will guarantee their safety.
But even if survival is secured, Edinburgh will be demanding his players keep delivering, especially as so many players still have their contract situations at the club to be decided.
“I think there is still a bit more work to do, and that is not just me saying that,” said Edinburgh. “Even if I felt we were safe, I’d still think we have a lot to do.
“We will have a good following going up to Rochdale on Saturday, and we have some big games coming up at home. The fans have backed us since I have been here, and we owe it to them.
“So we are certainly focused and we want to keep momentum and we want to finish the season strongly, and there are a lot of people’s futures to be decided.”
Players out of contract in the summer include the likes of skipper Marc Richards, John-Joe O’Toole, Zander Diamond and goalkeeper Adam Smith, and Edinburgh is keen to get things sorted as soon as possible.
“I have dialogue with the players every day, and as staff I think we are quite clear in our focus on who we want to keep and our recruitment,” said the Town manager.
“But those conversations (about contracts) can’t really be had until the status of the club for next season is secure, and we’re not quite there yet.
“What we have might be enough, but for me it’s not about that it is about trying to get as many points on the board as we can.
“We are conscious the players would like to know sooner rather than later, but they are contracted here until the end of June anyway, so they are obliged to continue and perform for this club.”
Asked if he had already made his mind up on the players he wants to keep, Edinburgh said: “Yes, that would be correct.
“I have been here long enough now to have an insight day to day, as well as matches.
“Some players haven’t perhaps had as much of an opportunity as others, but I have pretty much made my mind up on who I would like to keep at this football club.”
Rochdale are still in with a chance of making the play-offs, although they are probably going to have to win their remaining seven games to finish in the top six.
Edinburgh is obviously keen to scupper that plan by taking points at Spotland on Saturday.
“Rochdale are free-scoring and have also conceded a few,” said the Town manager.
“They are a team that has overachieved and I would believe they are focusing on securing one of those last play-off places, so they have a lot to play for.
“They have showed really good form at home of late, so it is another tough game for us, but I have seen really good improvement in our away performances of late.
“We are confident and we need to replicate the kind of performances we have been putting in on the road.
“Rochdale are a good footballing side and will look to attack as they base their game on that, so we will have to be aware of that and then look to go and impose ourselves on the game and try and implement our strengths against their weaknesses.”
John-Joe O’Toole and Luke Williams are set to return from injury for Saturday’s trip, but the Cobblers will still be without striker Alex Revell for the Rochdale clash.
Revell is trying to shake off the calf muscle injury that has kept him out since January.
The 33-year-old has returned to training this week, but Edinburgh says the Spotland trip is ‘too soon’ for the player.