Wilder: Potter will excite the Cobblers supporters

Alfie Potter tussles with Kaid Mohamed during Oxford United's 3-1 win at Sixfields in October
Alfie Potter tussles with Kaid Mohamed during Oxford United's 3-1 win at Sixfields in October

Boss Chris Wilder is confident new signing Alfie Potter is a player who will excite the Cobblers supporters.

The 26-year-old this week signed a two-year deal to join Northampton, and Wilder is looking forward to being reunited with a player he managed at Oxford United for close to five years.

Potter was allowed to leave Oxford in the January transfer window and then played for a short spell at AFC Wimbledon, and it’s fair to say his career has stalled a little in the past 18 months to two years.

But Wilder knows what Potter is capable of, and he is confident he can help him get back to his best form in a claret and white shirt.

“It didn’t really work out for Alfie at Oxford at the back end of his time there,” said Wilder.

“It was stop-start for him, but I am sure we can get him back to the level that I know, and he knows, he can play at.

“I signed him as a young kid, and I have to say he was excellent for me.

“Two years or 18 months ago he was highly thought of and there were a lot of clubs interested in signing him, especially after one game at Portsmouth on the first day of the season when he single-handedly destroyed them.

“He got off to a great start that season, but then suffered an ankle injury, and it has been a little bit of a struggle for him since.

“I think it was a bit of a struggle for that club (Oxford) as well, but hopefully he is going to be in a team that is battling towards the top of the league and we can get the ball to him.

“With his style of play, I am sure he will excite our punters and the last time he played here, he was outstanding in a deserved Oxford United victory (Potter won the penalty for the second, and scored Oxford’s third goal in a 3-1 at Sixfields in October).

“I know what he can do, and he is a really good signing to get us up and running.”

Wilder admitted he was close to signing Potter in January before opting to take Ricky Holmes, and he makes no secret of his admiration for a player that first came to attention as a wiry 19-year-old who scored in an FA Cup tie for Havant & Waterlooville against Liverpool at Anfield back in 2008.

“I have made enquiries about him all along, and sometimes a player needs to move and get himself going again,” said the Cobblers boss.

“He is here for the next two years, our style of play will suit him, he is an energetic boy who wants to get on the ball and get at people.

“It’s an area, with Lawson D’Ath and Ricky Holmes, that we need to make sure we have competition and suit the way we play.

“Alfie can play off both feet, he can play in behind a main striker, and he can play right, left or centrally across the top of the pitch, and for a small guy he is a tough little fella.”

Potter is Wilder’s first summer signing as he looks to rebuild his squad ahead of next season, and he admits he is happy to sign a player he has worked with before.

“You do go to players that you know, and you know well,” said the Cobblers boss.

“At times for me Alfie was excellent, and I just need to get that consistency out of him.

“He knows the division, he is a good character, and he knows this is a big period for him, and he is willing to work hard.

“There was interest from other clubs, but I think the attraction of this club, the attraction of getting back to work with me, and Alan (Knill), and the trust part of it was important.

“I know what he can do, and he knows how we work, so hopefully it is a good fit both ways.”