Twenty is plenty for Cobblers boss Austin as he shapes squad for first season in charge
Cobblers boss Dean Austin says he is under no pressure to move players on before making any new signings - but does admit the squad is currently too big.
Austin has made just one signing since being named as Town manager, bringing in striker Andy Williams from Doncaster Rovers, while he has also handed professional contracts to youth team graduates Morgan Roberts and Sean Whaler.
As well as Kevin Luckassen, Leon Lobjoit and Raheem Hanley being released at the end of the season, Brendan Moloney turned down a new contract offer to depart, which means the Town squad is currently 26 in number, although four of them are goalkeepers.
Austin says he wants to work with only 20 outfield playeres, and is certain to want to bring in at least a couple of fresh faces as he shapes his squad for a tilt at promotion from Sky Bet League Two, which would suggest players are going to have to leave.
And although Austin accepts that is the case, he won’t be forcing anybody out, although he says he won’t hesitate asking players to train with the youth team if they are not in his first team plans.
Asked if he has to release players before bringing people in, Austin said: “I don’t think that’s the case, because obviously we have brought Andy Williams In before we have done anything else.
“I am not restricted to bringing anybody in, but the fact is that I don’t really want to bring anybody else in, unless players then want to leave, because of the numbers.
“It’s a case of having a situation now, where I have probably got 23 or 24 players in the squad, and I don’t really want to add to that.
“Maybe in the first couple of weeks of training I will work with a couple more, but once we start training on a daily basis, I will only be working with a maximum of 20 (outfield) players.
“If players aren’t in the squad, and we haven’t got an under-23s, then they are going to have to go off and train with the youth team.
“That’s not a scenario that is good for me, and it’s not good for the players.
“My priority doesn’t lie with myself, my priority lies with the players.
“If a player’s not going to be in the group for two or three days of the week, then I need to tell the player that so that he is aware, and then the player can act accordingly.
“Whether that means he feels he needs to get himself something else, or if he wants to stay then he wants to stay, but at least he knows the situation and where we are.”
Players such as Billy Waters, Joe Iaciofano and Dean Bowditch spent the second half of last season out on loan, while others, such as Yaser Kasim, found themselves frozen out of the first team frame.
So if Austin decides certain players are not in his plans, will he and the club try and help them find new clubs?
“I think that depends on the player,” said the Cobblers boss.
“If it is a player who was potentially not happy through not playing as many games as they would have liked at the back end of last season, then we will always help an individual.
“I will always help them, and I have always said that to the boys, because they are all my boys, and I want to help people.
“I want people to be able to enjoy their careers, so if there is a case where we can potentially help them on their way, then we will.
“It’s the stupid season with the agents anyway, but if a player feels his agent has found him an opportunity, and both the club and the player are in agreement, then we won’t stand in a player’s way.
“At the end of the day,if players don’t want to be here because they’re not happy because they’ don’t think they are playing enough football, then you are never going to get the bets out of them anyway.
“You are then better off letting the player moving himself on.”