Cobblers boss Dean Austin has showered praise on Daniel Powell, describing the winger as ‘unplayable’ after his impressive performance and two-goal showing against St Albans City in Saturday’s second pre-season friendly.
Powell helped Northampton race into a two-goal lead at Clarence Park, scoring a deflected effort after 10 minutes before collecting Matt Crooks’ precise through pass and rounding the goalkeeper for a second just two minutes later.
Powelly is unplayable if we can get him in the right groove. It’s not ever through the want of trying with him because he’s a fantastic lad and a great professional.
The former MK Dons man was too hot for the home defence to handle for the entire 45 minutes he was on the pitch, regularly beating his full-back to whip in dangerous crosses and take shots at goal.
He missed two clear chances to add to his tally, denied by the goalkeeper’s legs and then firing over when well-placed, and could also have had several assists with better finishing from his team-mates.
Injury and inconsistency blighted Powell for much of last season but there were glimpses of his potential in patches – most memorably his superb solo goal at Gillingham – and now Austin is hoping to coax the best out of him on a regular basis.
“Powelly is unplayable if we can get him in the right groove,” said the Town boss. “It’s not ever through the want of trying with him because he’s a fantastic lad and a great professional.
“He works his socks off every single day but we’re just trying to help improve some of his movements and where we can get him on the ball in dangerous areas.
“We want to do that because when that boy’s coming at you he’s unplayable.”
Another to catch the eye on Saturday was Billy Waters. Having signed from Cheltenham 12 months ago, the 23-year-old forward endured a frustrating first campaign at Sixfields, culminating in a loan move to Cambridge United, but he showed his composure in front of goal against St Albans with two clinical finishes to complete a 4-0 victory.
“Billy’s a great lad,” added Austin. “He always gives his all every single day and we’ve just got to keep pushing him.
“He didn’t have a lot of time with us last year because obviously he went out on loan with Cambridge but while he’s here now we need to get him working on his movements and his pressing at the right times because we have a different approach now.”