Cobblers move '˜ticked the right boxes' for ambitious striker Williams
The ambition of the Cobblers and boss Dean Austin as well as the club's '˜brilliant' squad persuaded striker Andy Williams that Sixfields is the best place for him in the next phase of his footballing career.
The 31-year-old was released by Sky Bet League One outfit Doncaster Rovers earlier this month, and new Town boss Austin wasted no time in targeting the former Hereford United man as somebody who can help boost the Cobblers’ scoring power.
Goals were hard to come by for the Cobblers last season, and Williams is a proven performer at league one and league two level with the likes of Hereford, Yeovil Town, Bristol Rovers and Swindon Town, having scored more that 120 goals in his career to date.
He was part of the Doncaster Rovers team that was promoted from league two a little over 12 months ago, the season after the club was relegated from league one, and he is targeting a repeat of that success now he has signed on at Sixfields.
“The majority of the offers I had were league two based, and this for me seems a good option,” said Williams, who will turn 32 in August.
“You are never guaranteed promotion at this level, but I wanted to go somewhere where they definitely wanted to get promoted out of this league, and I felt this club massively ticked the box.
“It is a good location for me too, which is an important thing for me, to move a bit closer to home with my family.
“So it ticked a lot of boxes, and after meeting the gaffer I felt this was the right place for me.”
And he added: “One of the things that drew me to here was that the squad is brilliant.
“I remember seeing a lot of the people being signed for last season, and I thought they would be at the other end of league one, and not what happened to them.
“Hopefully as a group we can bounce back, and hopefully turn it around straight away as we did at Doncaster a couple of years ago, where we got promoted straight after a relegation.”
Hereford-based Williams could be among plenty of familiar faces when he turns up for pre-season in June, having previously played witht he likes of Sam Hoskins, Sam Foley, Jordan Turnbull, Yaser Kasim and Dean Bowditch, and he admits he can’t wait to get started with hsi new club.
The season has just finished was not one tht Williams will look back on very fondly, as an ankle injury suffered in November seeing him sidelined for four months, and he then struggled to get back into the Doncaster team.
Asked about his fitness, Williams said: “I had a very frustrating season at Doncaster last season, but other than that I think my track record has been pretty good.
“I am excited and can’t wait for next season to start so I can get back to playing football, which is what I love doing the most.
“I have been fit for months now, but just unfortunately I have not been picked.
“My match fitness will be the same as everybody else’s going into pre-season, so hopefully I will be on an even keel and be ready to hit the ground running from August.”
With the play-off finals still to be played this weekend, the Cobblers and Williams certainly haven’t messed about in pushing this move through, with Williams admitting his mind was made up once he had met Austin.
“I was aware of a little bit of interest, but it has speeded along pretty quickly,” admitted Williams. “I think both parties were keen to get the deal done, and I am delighted to have signed.
“I had a long meeting Dean, and a really good chat, and there were a lot of good things that I heard from him.
“I did a little bit of homework as well from people who have previously been here, and people who might be here now, and I am very optmistic for the future for me, for him, and for the club.”
Austin has made it clear that he is going to expect nothing less than 100 per cent effort from all the Cobbers squad next season, on every match day and every single day in training, and Williams is on board with that.
Asked about Austin demanding the highest of standards, Williams said: “You hope for that from everybody anyway, so hopefully everyone will get to see that from me in the future.
“No matter how I am playing, and everybody has good games and bad games, I will be leaving everything I have got out on the pitch.
“The main thing I am hoping for is that I will be able to bring goals to the team.
“But I will work hard, I will chase defenders down, chase lost causes down.
“I also like to think I have quite good movement as a striker, and hopefully I know where the net is.”
Amazingly, given his lengthy career in the lower divisions of the Football League, Williams has only played once at Sixfields - and that was nine years ago.
The match ended in a 2-1 defeat for the Bulls, but there was a silver lining for Williams.
“I have been here a few times as an unused sub, but I do remember one season when I think we had just been relegated when I was on loan at Hereford in league one,” he said.
“I managed to score on that day, so at least I know I can score on the ground, and hopefully now I can do it in the right colours.”
Williams’ signing takes the Cobblers squad number for next season up to 26, with offers also on the table for Brendan Moloney and Leon Barnett.