Boyd discusses use of guest players at Franklin's Gardens

Karl Garside has signed a deal at Saints
Karl Garside has signed a deal at Saints

With Saints carrying a smaller squad this season under boss Chris Boyd, guest players have been brought in to bolster the Wanderers squad.

And some of them have done so well that they have been able to earn contracts at Franklin's Gardens.

The likes of prop Karl Garside and lock Lewis Bean initially appeared with an asterisk alongside their name on the teamsheet.

But that can now be removed as they have put pen to paper on deals that make them fully-fledged Saintsmen.

And they are unlikely to be the last players to earn a deal after doing a good job for the Wanderers, with Boyd keen to source talented squad members by using trusted scouts.

"Simon Sinclair, our Academy manager, plugs the holes for us (in the Wanderers team) because he's got plenty of contacts around the place," Boyd explained.

"It's good for the boys that come in and help out, it's good for us to keep a watch on those people and they have the privilege of playing at the Gardens with some budding professionals.

"It's a really good process."

Saints didn't need guest players when winning the A League in 2017 and 2018 as they had a big squad, with many men needing game time.

But they have cut down on contracted numbers this year as they focus on quality over quantity.

And that is good news for the likes of Garside, who has been playing for Ampthill, and Bean, who has been with Moseley.

"Both of them have come out of the Wanderers fixtures and it's really good when you get someone who comes in and they come up trumps," Boyd said.

"It's great."

While some players are coming in, others are inevitably going out.

Andrew Kellaway and Matt Worley have both impressed for the Wanderers this season, having joined Saints last summer.

But neither will be at Northampton beyond the end of the current campaign.

"You can't keep everybody and we've got some good other young boys coming into the Academy," Boyd said.

"Matt (Worley) came to us at the start of the year as a half-back and he's going to go away to Bedford, who have contracted him as a centre.

"He's blisteringly quick and his rugby journey has been a bit different to most because he grew up with his folks in Hong Kong and ended up in France in the (Racing 92) Academy so he's had a different process to most but he's very quick and keen to learn the game.

"Not having a traditional rugby pathway, he's not deeply enriched in his understanding of the game, which is something he's working hard on, but he's definitely a good athlete.

"Hopefully he gets some good footy for Bedford and if it flourishes for him maybe he will get some opportunity somewhere else after that."

And on Kellaway, Boyd said: "What Andrew does well, he does really well.

"He's not the complete footballer by his own admission so he's been in and out a little bit."