Assessing Northampton Town’s January Transfer Business

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At the start of the January Transfer Window, we assessed what Northampton Town needed to survive in League One. Now, half way through the window and 5 arrivals later, we will assess how the new faces have contributed to the Cobblers’ upturn in form.

The first arrival this window was the tricky, stylish Portuguese winger Hildeberto Pereira, arriving on loan from Legia Warsaw. Having graduated from the Benfica academy, Pereira has featured in the Europa League, has made over 20 championship appearances for Nottingham Forest, represented Portugal at Under-21 level and is still only 21 years old, so represents a bit of a coup for the Cobblers this season.

Periera has been an instant hit for the Cobblers, coming on as a substitute for the last half an hour against Southend and hitting the crossbar almost instantly, albeit that he should have scored. He followed this up with a fine nutmeg and run, setting up Alex Revell to finish off an excellent counter attack, leading to a 3-1 win for the Cobblers. He was once again named amongst the subs for the win over Bradford, this time only coming on for the last 5 minutes, so there is certainly much more to come from Periera.

In his brief cameo against Southend, Periera certainly showed glimpses of his class, and showed that he has the quality to excite the fans in the manner that has been missing since Ricky Holmes’ departure. He must certainly be in line for a start at home to MK Dons on Saturday, as Town look to make it three wins in a row.

The second arrival was a bit of a strange one, in that before the window, right back didn’t look as though it was an area which needed strengthening. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink felt that it was, and prompted to bring in youngster Shay Facey for an undisclosed fee from Manchester City. Facey has hit the ground running, instantly ousting Brendan Moloney from the starting 11, putting in a man of the match performance on his debut against Southend.

He followed this up with another solid performance against Bradford, and his arrival has contributed to back to back wins. We are yet to see him offer the attacking threat that Moloney does, but as he grows into his time at the Cobblers this will surely come. Suddenly, one of the first names on the team-sheet in Moloney finds himself battling to get back into the side, and this competition can only benefit Hasselbaink.

The third arrival was young 22-year-old midfielder/winger Jack Bridge from Southend, arriving on a permanent basis. Bridge is a relative unknown, playing only 11 games for Southend, yet experienced a successful loan spell at Chelmsford. He had a trial at Premier League Bournemouth in the summer, and is a player who assistant coach Dean Austin knows well, with Hasselbaink stating that he ‘offers greater balance in midfield’.

Hasselbaink has been opting for a 4-2-3-1 formation in recent weeks, so Bridge will fit nicely anywhere among the attacking three. Bridge’s impact remains to be seen, as he was left out of the squad against Bradford, but is another who will be pushing to play against MK Dons.

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Next to arrive was another position which Cobblers appeared to be strong, as goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell arrived for an undisclosed fee from Rotherham United. His arrival meant that loanee Matt Ingram returned to QPR, with Hasselbaink stating his preference is for the goalkeeper to not be on loan. Matt Ingram left with the best wishes from all Cobblers fans, as he impressed and put in a series of good performances during his time at the club.

His replacement O’Donnell is another who has made an instant impact, putting in a solid performance in the victory over Bradford, and as an experienced League One keeper, he looks to be a good signing.

Finally, the latest arrival has been 23-year-old centre back Jordan Turnbull, having a loan spell at Partick Thistle cut short so that he could arrive from Coventry City, again for an undisclosed fee. With Aaron Pierre set to be out until April, a central defensive arrival was necessary.

Although Turnbull’s long-term Cobblers career will be at centre-half, loanee Regan Poole has been in fine form recently so the left sided centre half made his debut at left-back, replacing club captain David Buchanan for the victory over Bradford City. This gives the Cobblers good options, which again will benefit them in the relegation fight.

Turnbull arrives with good pedigree, having played over 150 games in League One and being a product from the impressive Southampton Academy, so again looks like a good signing. Although he was part of the Coventry side that got relegated last season, being partnered by an experienced professional in Ash Taylor will allow Turnbull to develop into a solid central defender.

There have been plenty of positives to take from Northampton’s business so far, one of which has been the fact that most arrivals have been permanent signings, ones which have been paid for with an undisclosed fee. This shows that the recruitment system used has changed for the Cobblers, as in the previous few windows many new arrivals have been loans or free transfers of out of contract players.

Furthermore, all arrivals have been ambitious young players with experience of the Football League, as Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink begins to work on bringing the squad age down and playing with pace and
desire.

The re-arrival of club legend Graham Carr as a director of the club will no doubt have had an impact, following his success as a scout at Newcastle United.

In terms of more arrivals, Northampton remain in the market for another striker and potentially another wide man. Nasser El Khayiti, a player Hasselbaink knows well from Burton and QPR has been linked with the club, but whether a move materialises remains to be seen.

Furthermore, Ingram’s departure allows for another loan move to take place, should this option be exploited.

In terms of departures, it’s been relatively quiet, however more departures are expected before the end of the window. Billy Waters has joined Cambridge on loan to get some more game time, and Matt Ingram has gone back to QPR.

The big departure has been the release of club legend and captain Marc Richards, who has recently left the club after playing such a big part over the last few seasons. The time was probably right for Richards to move on, and he leaves with all the praise and thanks from all Cobblers’ fans, who remember his title winning heroics.

Richards and Waters’ departures leaves the club short in the striker department, so expect a busy few days at Sixfields stadium as Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s drastic restructure of the squad continues.