FEATURE: '˜Lion' Morias up for the league two fight after signing for Cobblers
I have lost count of the number of new Cobblers players I have interviewed just minutes after they have committed their futures to the club's cause.
But I know very few of them, if any, have been as infectious, as positive and as downright excited to be at the club as Junior Morias.
Signed for an undisclosed fee from Peterborough United last Friday, the 23-year-old could barely conceal his delight at signing for the Cobblers when I spoke to him in the club offices at the PTS Academy Stadium.
“It is an ambitious club, and I fell in love with that ambition and with what the gaffer wants to do,” said the Jamaican.
“I was impressed by that, my family was impressed by that, and I am still young and hungry.
“I am not your typical young boy, I am a father as well, and there is a lot of things on the line to be fair.”
Recalling how the move to the Cobblers came about, Morias added: “My agent phoned me and told me there was interest from Northampton, and when I found out Dean Austin was the manager, I wanted to see what was going on.
“I spoke to the gaffer, and I knew where I wanted to be, and here is the place I want to be.
“I had offers from other clubs, but I knew where my mind and my heart was.
“My partner came with me when we came for the meeting, and it was all good with my family, and I want to please my family.
“We all decided that this is the place we want to be, and this is where we were going to go.”
Morias was placed on the transfer list by Posh boss Steve Evans at the end of last season, but he has been training at London Road in recent weeks, and says he is fit and ready to hit the ground running at his new club.
“I haven’t had any time off, I have been running and working hard, and pre-season has been positive for me so far,” said Morias, who stayed at home while the rest of his new squad-mates headed out to Alicante for a training camp.
“The boys are working out in Spain, and I will be here working myself.
“Then, when the boys come back, we will get tuned in ready for the game on Tuesday against Barnet, and then we will kick on from there.”
Morias knows what the Cobblers and the stadium formerly known as Sixfields is all about, having been here when he was a Wycombe Wanderers player, and also last season with Posh, netting a goal in their 4-1 derby demolition of Justin Edinburgh’s dismal Cobblers last August.
But for those Town fans who spent most of that torrid afternoon with their eyes closed as a horror show unfolded in front of them, what can they expect to see from their new striker?
“I am a goalscorer,” said Morias. “I am passionate, I am hungry, and I am like a wasp. I just don’t give defenders a break.
“I will roll you, I will pin you, and basically make it as horrible as I can.
“If I am not having the best of games, then I know for a fact I will leave that pitch having given my all, and I will run until I can’t run any more.”
Morias is also excited about the players he is going to be teaming up with at Town.
He was on the bench in April when Cobblers were beaten 2-0 by Peterborough at London Road in what proved to be Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s final game in charge, but he admits that Posh rode their luck in that Easter Monday clash.
“When Peterborough played Northampton at home, we were very lucky,” said Morias, who came through the youth ranks at Tottenham, before signing a pro deal at Wycombe.
“I was on the bench and I remember saying ‘we are riding our luck here’ because I was surprised we weren’t 3-0 or 4-0 down because Northampton started off so well.
“So I don’t know if relegation was deserved, but that is football and what’s happened has gone. Now our focus is to get back to where we need to be going to, and it is all positive.
“Things happen in football, and everything happens for a reason, so we have to be positive. I am prepared for anything and whatever league two brings. I am a lion, so I’ll be exactly that.”
For a player who is still young, Morias has been through plenty to get where he is now.
When things didn’t work out for him at Wycombe, he left Adams Park and dropped into non-League, where he set about climbing the football ladder again.
And he did just that, going about his work and scoring goals for Boreham Wood and St Albans City, before being snapped up by Peterborough in January, 2017.
He proved his worth by scoring goals in league one, and was on fire at the start of last season, netting five times in the first two months of the season, until he ruptured a thigh muscle in a game at Oldham Athletic in September.
Morias fought his way back to fitness by the turn of the year, but he failed to regain the spark as he found starts hard to come by.
When Grant McCann, the manager who signed him, was sacked and replaced by Evans, Morias found himself out of favour and on the transfer list.
National League side Ebbsfleet had an offer accepted by Posh for the player, but he wasn’t dropping out of the Football League that easily.
And once he had been to the Cobblers and met manager Austin, he knew where he wanted to go.
“There were options to drop back down (to non-League), but this was close to my heart,” said Morias.
“From being at Wycombe, and then dropping into non-League, which I call the lions’ den, because you have to be a lion to survive and get yourself out.
“I managed to survive and got myself out, so it was one of those where I need to go somewhere where I am going to play games, score goals and just enjoy football again.
“Having injuries last year took the sting out of what I had worked so hard for last pre-season, but that is football and injuries happen.
“As long as you have the right people around you, you will be fine, and I had my family around me and my boys around me, so that was good.”
Recalling that injury suffered at Boundary Park, Morias says even in such adversity he showed his total determination to succeed.
“I am a fighter, so when I got told I would be out for five months, I didn’t want to be out for five months, I believed I would be out for whatever time I wanted to be out for,” he said.
“I managed to get back in three and a half months, but when I got back I wasn’t playing enough.
“Prior to the injury, I was playing all the time, and when I came back I was in good spirits and knew what I needed to do, but I struggled a bit in terms of not playing, not getting in the team.
“It was difficult, because whereas before I was starting games, I was then coming off the bench, but that is football and I had to take it on the chin.
“I am just happy that I am here now, and I am going to attack this league.”