THE BIG KICK-OFF: Cobblers are '˜where we need to be' declares boss Austin
Boss Dean Austin says the Cobblers are '˜where we need to be' as they prepare for Saturday's Sky Bet League Two season opener against Lincoln City (ko 3pm).
A big crowd is expected at the PTS Academy Stadium as Town return to life in the basement division following their relegation in May.
Austin is preparing for his first full campaign as a manager in the League, but he is in relaxed mood after his encouraging five-game stint as caretaker boss at the end of last season, and a very positive pre-season.
Town won all six of their friendly matches, and more importantly got through without any serious injuries suffered.
The one player to pick up a knock, Shay Facey, could well be available to take on the Red Imps, and Austin said: “The mood is good.
“We have had a good pre-season where everything has gone well and more or less to plan, and we are where we need to be.
“We had a right good go at a very difficult situation at the end of last season, but now you never know what is going to happen.
“We are stepping into the unknown on the first day of the season, you don’t know what other teams are going to do, but we will see soon enough.
“All the boys are chomping at the bit and are ready to go, and the hardest part for me is that I have got to pick a side to go out and try and get a result against Lincoln on Saturday.”
Lincoln are a club on the up, who reached the play-offs last season and also won the Checkatrade Trophy.
They will be backed by 1,500 travelling fans this weekend, and Austin said: “It’s a very good game, and I would think within our division it is probably the fixture most people will be licking their lips at.
“That’s because we are seen as two of the favourites who are expected to be up there, but I know exactly what to expect on Saturday, and the players know exactly what to expect.
“There has been no stone left unturned with regards to our preparation for this first game.
“Danny and Nicky (the Cowley brothers) have done very well at Lincoln, and they have obviously found a magic formula that has worked for them because it has worked at every club they have been at.
“Fair play to them, they have done exceptionally well, and we know we have got a very tough game on our hands on Saturday.”
The Cobblers are set to be at full-strength for the opening match, with both Facey (ankle) and Junior Morias (ankle tendon) winning their battles to be fit.