Boothroyd steps up goalkeeper search after giving up on Nicholls return

SIXFIELDS RETURN? - Matt Duke
SIXFIELDS RETURN? - Matt Duke

Aidy Boothroyd has started his search for a new Cobblers goalkeeper after admitting it is unlikely Lee Nicholls will re-join from Wigan Athletic.

And the Northampton manager did not rule out an approach for Bradford goalkeeper Matt Duke, who played nine games while on loan at Sixfields last season.

Nicholls has returned to parent club Wigan after a very successful season and Boothroyd expects the 20-year-old to mount a first-team challenge at the Latics, who were relegated from the Premier League this month.

That means the club will need to sign another senior goalkeeper with youth-team graduate Dean Snedker unlikely to be thrown into the fray in the coming campaign.

And Duke, whose contract expires at Valley Parade this summer, ticks all the boxes.

“He (Duke) was excellent the last time he was with us but I can’t get the image of him jumping around at Wembley out of my mind,” he said.

“Matt is a Bradford City player, he did really well for them and the good thing about this pre-season is that it’s a clubs’ market.

“It used to be that it was a players’ market but the ball is in the clubs’ court now. There will be no shortage of good goalkeepers out there and we’ll take one of them.”

Town missed out on promotion to league one by losing to Bradford in the play-off final on Saturday and had that game have turned out differently, there is a good chance Nicholls could have returned.

“Had we gone up then there’s a good chance we could have taken Lee back,” he said. “But with Wigan going down he will go there and probably be on their bench in the championship.

“I know he wants to play and you can never say never but I’ve gone down another avenue. I’ve sent a letter to Roberto (Martinez) saying thanks and that we’re here if they want to send him out again but he will have already thought about it.

“I’ve already made a few enquiries and calls and I know the one that I want to sign.”