Goalkeeper Ward relieved to finally make Cobblers move
Goalkeeper Lewis Ward is relieved to finally be a Cobblers player '“ six weeks after first meeting up to discuss the move with boss Dean Austin!
The Reading shot-stopper put pen to paper on a season-long loan deal at the PTS Academy Stadium on Friday, and revealed it was a move that has been a long time in the making.
Ward, who played the second half of last season in the National League with Aldershot, was keen on the switch to Town from the off, but for various reasons the deal couldn’t be done until the past few days.
“It has been a slow process and everybody has had to be really patient,” revealed Ward, who was at Sixfields on Friday to watch his new team-mates see off a Manchester United XI 2-0 in a pre-season friendly.
“Northampton have been great, always communicating, always talking, and my agent has been pulling his hair out all the time, but it’s finally done, which is really good, and I am happy to be here.”
So when did Ward first become aware of the Cobblers’ interest?
“It was towards the end of the off season,” said Ward.
“My agent keeps things close to his chest until there is real interest, so until there was something concrete, I didn’t know about it.
“I met the manager (Austin) about six weeks ago, and it has all kicked on from there.
“I was pleased with what the manager said, and everything I wanted, he offered, including the style of football Northampton play.
“You could see that on Friday night, and I was keen to be out there, but sadly I couldn’t be.
“I am looking forward to meeting up with the boys properly, and getting started.”
Ward is due to train with his new team-mates for the first time on Monday at Moulton College, and will be vying with David Cornell and youngster James Goff for a starting place in Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two season opener against Lincoln City.
If he does play, the Reading-born goalkeeper will be making his debut in the Football League, as he has previously only had loan spells in non-League and in Iceland, and he can’t wait to get out there.
“That was the next step for me, having played in the National League last season, so to step into the Football League was the aim,” said Ward, who played 26 games for the Shots last season.
“Luckily, I have been given the opportunity here, although I know I am not guaranteed a start and will have to fight for my place which I am willing to do.
“But hopefully the debut will come at the weekend.”