THE BIG KICK-OFF: Boss Austin says Town goalkeeper's place still up for grabs
Boss Dean Austin has stated that the goalkeeper's spot in the Cobblers first team is still very much up for grabs as the team prepares for Saturday's Sky Bet League two clash with Lincoln City.
The Town manager landed Reading goalkeeper Lewis Ward on a season-long loan deal last Friday, having spent six weeks chasing the player.
But any assumption that the 21-year-old will automatically become Town’s number one was shot down by Austin, who insists Ward has been brought in to vye for a place in the team with David Cornell.
Cornell has been with the Cobblers for two years now and has enjoyed spells in the first team, making 22 appearances in all, although he has mainly been the understudy to the likes of Adam Smith, Matt Ingram and Richard O’Donnell, who left the club in June to sign for Bradford City.
The Welshman has impressed Austin with his application, attitude and performances in pre-season, and the Town manager insists he is very much in the frame to start against the Red Imps in the first game of the season at the PTS Academy Stadium on Saturday.
“It was a blow to lose Richie O’Donnell because he was a great player for us,” said Austin.
“Lewis has now come in from Reading, and he has got a very, very bright future ahead of him, and he will compete with Dai (Cornell) for that number one place.
“I have to reinforce that, that Lewis has come in to compete with Dai, because Dai hasn’t done anything wrong in pre-season.
“I have got two number ones here, because Dai hasn’t done anything wrong to warrant not being a competitor for a first team place.
“He has been exceptional in pre-season, he has come back and really got the the bit within his teeth.
“I told him that he would have the opportunity under me to stake his claim, and I am very happy with what I have now.”