Aidy Boothroyd believes new arrival JJ Hooper can have a good professional career after making the striker his fourth permanent signing of the summer.
Hooper scored the Cobblers’ first goal in a 3-1 win at Corby on Wednesday night, a result that preserves the team’s winning run against non-league opposition in pre-season and secures the Maunsell Cup.
The match at Steel Park was Darren Purse’s last as Boothroyd confirmed he is set to sign a deal elsewhere, with Portsmouth being rumoured as a potential destination.
It also provided an opportunity for two new trial players to get a run-out, with wingers Kieron Cadogan, who scored the third goal, and Danny Emerton getting the full 90 minutes; both will remain with the club for at least another week as they attempt to win contracts.
There was a substitute appearance for Gary Deegan, with whom talks are ongoing and who Boothroyd hopes to get signed before the weekend.
Hooper was always likely to be closely watched after signed a one-year deal with an option for a second, and did not disappoint, scoring a good individual goal to set the tone for the victory.
“He has got a lot of talent, that has never been in doubt,” said Boothroyd. “It’s his attitude that has been a problem in the past and I think if he’s got somebody on top of him and keeping him professional then he will do well.
“He took his goal well tonight and he could potentially have a really good career in the game.
“He’s not someone who will be a first-team player straight away but we’ll be looking to him to force his way in and fight for a place.”
Boothroyd’s team have now won three out of four of their pre-season matches with warm-up games to come against a Stoke City development squad on Saturday and Leicester City on Tuesday night.
They had to work hard to beat Corby, who can feel a little hard done to in losing a game in which they performed well, especially in the second half.
“I think if ever you’re in any cup competition then you should try to win it and we certainly had to fight to do that,” said Boothroyd.
“They were on top for the first 25 minutes and we had to dig in a little bit but we got the goals late in the day and we’re pleased with the performance.”