Cobblers boss Chris Wilder says he has been delighted with the application and attitude of transfer-listed pair John-Joe O’Toole and Chris Hackett since they returned to pre-season training.
The pair were told they were surplus to requirements at Sixfields at the end of last season, but as yet there has been no interest in them from other clubs,
They have been back training with the Cobblers since the players returned to work on June 22, and are this week with the squad at their training camp in Brighton.
O’Toole and Hackett both played the first half of Sunday’s opening pre-season friendly at Sileby Rangers, and will feature again tonight as Town take on Worthing in the second outing of the summer (ko 7.30pm).
“Their attitude has to be good, and I have spoken to them about it,” said Wilder. “Nothing is set and certain in football, so they are with us.
“The thing is that John-Joe and Hacks have to do it for themselves.
“My position hasn’t changed on them, but if things don’t happen then they will be staying with us.
“I thought the attitude of both of them on Sunday was outstanding.
“I am not the type of manager that is going to chuck them in reserves, let them train on their own and give them rubbish training kit and stuff like that.
“We don’t work like that, because the decisison (to put them on the transfer list) was not a personal decision.
“Both of them have come back in good shape, and they don’t do themselves any harm the way they go about their business.”
Town travelled to Brighton on Monday, and take on Worthing tonight on their new 3G artificial surface at Woodside Road, before playing Burgess Hill on Saturday.
The players will also be training throughout the days they are away, with Wilder keen to build up fitness as well as team spirit ahead of what will be a long campaign.
“A lot is talked about team spirit, but it is only a good team spirit when you are doing well,” said the Cobblers boss.
“You have to have that spirit and you have to be together as a group.
“It isn’t going to be an easy week in Brighton.
“People look at footballers going away and think they’ll be on the beach, but that’s not the case.
“We can’t train from 9am to 9pm, but they will be working extremely hard.
“Having said that, you could see on Sunday that the levels of fitness are really good.
“There was lot of energy and enthusiasm about our play, and we are looking to take that on further.
“We have two tougher games coming up now, but the group will get to know each other better.
“They have a long season ahead of them, and they are going to have to go through a lot of things together if they are going to be successful.”
All the Cobblers players who have travelled to the south coast are pencilled in to feature tonight, apart from left-back Evan Horwood who is not expected to play until the weekend.
Ricky Holmes will make his first appearance of the summer after missing out at Sileby, and Ivan Toney is also expected to play part of the game, despite the continued speculation linking him with a transfer to Premier League giants Newcastle United.