The Cobblers have signed central defender Luke Prosser on loan from Southend United until the end of the season.
The 27-year-old has long been a target of Town boss Chris Wilder, who earmarked the former Port Vale man as the replacement for Lee Collins in the summer.
The Cobblers made an offer to buy Prosser in June, but the bid was turned down by Southend, and the deal died as Town’s off-field money problems began to bite.
But Wilder always maintained his interest in the player, who is a left-footed central defender, and with Prosser finding himself out of the first-team picture at Roots Hall he has swooped to get his man, admitting it is ‘better late than never’.
“Eventually we have signed him,” said Wilder. “I have always been really impressed when my teams have come across Luke playing for Southend.
“I think he has developed his game over the past three or four years, and he is a great signing for us.
“It is important, as we keep saying, to have competition all over the pitch.
“You have seen we do like to set up with a balance of left-footers and right-footers in the team, and we have that with Rod McDonald, and now we have it with Luke.
“It has taken its time, but it is better late than never and I am looking forward to working with Luke for the rest of this season, and hopefully longer.”
Prosser has initially signed on loan until the end of the campaign when his contract at Southend runs out, and Wilder admits he has one eye on ensuring the defender’s Sixfields stay is a more lengthy one.
“Luke is out of contract in the summer, so this is a really good opportunity for him to have a little look at us, and us to have a little look at him,” said the Cobblers boss.
“If everything goes well in this period, then we can see where we are at the end of the season, but he is definitely a player that we feel can do really well at this level as he has done with Southend, and also at the next level up if we are achieve our aim of getting promoted.
“It is a good opportunity for both parties.”
Prosser arrives at Sixfields having spent the past six years at Southend, who he joined from Port Vale in the summer of 2010.
The Enfield-born player made 164 appearances for the Shrimpers, scoring seven goals, and was part of their team that won promotion from Sky Bet League Two last season, via the play-offs.
Prosser becomes the Cobblers’ third loan signing from a league one club in the January transfer window, joining James Collins and Lee Martin, who have signed from Shrewsbury Town and Millwall respectively.