Austin says new signing Odoffin adds serious competition to the Cobblers squad
Boss Dean Austin believes new signing Hakeem Odoffin will provide crucial competition for the right-back slot in the Cobblers' starting line-up.
The 6ft 3in defender has joined Town following his release from Premier League-bound Wolverhampton Wanderers last month, and now faces a fight with Shay Facey to win that first team place.
Odoffin only turned 20 in April, and has limited experience, having made just two appearances as a teenager for Barnet, one in the FA Cup and one in Sky Bet League Two in a 3-0 loss to the Cobblers at Sixfields, and then 21 games in the National League on loan at Eastleigh.
Aside from that he has only played youth and under-23 football, but he is a player whose progress has been closely monitored by Austin, and the Town manager believes he is ready to make his mark in senior football.
“Hakeem is a player I know a lot about and he will be a good addition to the squad,” said the Austin.
“He is a good size and he has pace. He loves to get forward from full back and he will compete well with Shay Facey for the right back position.
“The two of them will drive each other forward and competition for places is crucial.”
Odoffin is Austin’s second new signing of the summer, following on from striker Andy Williams, and he believes he has found a player who will quickly settle into the Town squad.
“Hakeem is a young player with a lot of ability and he is hungry to do well,” said the Cobblers boss, who takes his team to Brackley Town for their third pre-season friendly of the summer on Tuesday night (ko 7.45pm).
“As I have said many times, character, determination and attitude are very important to me, they are the attributes I am looking for and Hakeem fits that template.”
The news of Odoffin’s signing is bad news for another of the Town group through, with Austin admitting he will now definitely not be offering Aaron Phillips a new contract.
The right-back suffered a serious thigh injury last August and didn’t play for the rest of the season.
His Town deal ran out in the summer, but he returned for pre-season to try and prove his fitness, and has started the club’s friendlies to date, at Sileby Rangers and St Albans, but he is now on the lookout for a new club.
“I have spoken to Aaron and said that while he is more than welcome to continue to train with us to build his fitness, there won’t be anything available here for him at the end of that time,” said Austin.
“Aaron is a top lad, we wish him well and will do all we can to help him find a new club.”
The Cobblers travel to Brackley on Tuesday, but will then have an unexpected night off as the scheduled Wednesday night fixture at Chelmsford City has been cancelled due to the pitch being unfit to play on.