Dean Bowditch was delighted to get his first taste of action in Cobblers colours on Saturday when he joined five of his fellow summer signings in a one-sided pre-season friendly win over UCL side Sileby Rangers.
Opening up their campaign with the usual curtain-raiser at Fernie Fields, Town fielded six new faces coupled with two academy players plus an array of returning players from last season, and also a couple of trialists.
Despite there being so little time to gel having only recently returned to training, Justin Edinburgh’s two teams - one for each half - swiftly clicked together to produce an impressively cohesive and sharp performance to rack up an 8-2 victory.
Bowditch didn’t get among the goals himself - although would have done but for a tight offside call - so it was left to Joe Iaciofano, with a second-half hat-trick, plus fellow new recruit Sam Foley, who added a brace, to do the bulk of the damage.
Leon Barnett and Daniel Powell, another two who arrived at Sixfields this summer, also opened their Town accounts while club captain Marc Richards contributed for the old guard with a first-half header.
There will be no getting carried away of course but, for Bowditch, this was the perfect start to his Sixfields career.
“It was a professional performance,” he said afterwards.
“We knew they would give it a go and work hard and the first one back is always difficult because you know you’re going to make mistakes and everyone’s working their way into it.
“As you saw second-half, the boys came out, the other team started to tire and our quality started to show. The boys will be pleased with the run-out and it’s all about fitness.
“I had a few chances. I’d liked to have done a bit better but it’s only the first one back and sometimes you make silly mistakes.”
I’ve loved it here so far. I knew few of the lads before I signed anyway so I knew I’d get on with them and I’ve played against plenty of them in the past.
Having joined the club back in June, Bowditch’s signature at Sixfields sparked an influx of new signings with nine players in the door so far this summer, and more expected in the coming weeks.
But despite the mass upheaval among the playing staff, it seems it hasn’t taken long for the new-look squad to click.
“The new lads who have come in have gelled really well,” added Bowditch, who, as a new face himself, hasn’t required long to settle in at Sixfields. “Everyone gets on which always helps and you want to do well for your team-mates.
“We’re all just pleased to be back out playing and enjoying football - ultimately that’s why I signed for this club. I want to be play football and enjoy it.
“I’ve loved it here so far. I knew few of the lads before I signed anyway so I knew I’d get on with them and I’ve played against plenty of them in the past.
“We’ve had our battles in previous years but hopefully we can now gel as a team and move forwards and I’m really looking forward to getting started.”
This coming season will be Bowditch’s second successive year in Sky Bet League One following a six-year stint with MK Dons.
On what he’ll bring to the Cobblers, the 31-year-old, who’s also played for Brighton and Ipswich and had a short loan spell at Sixfields as a youngster, continued: “I’ll play wherever the gaffer wants me to and I’ll work to the best of my ability and try to perform every game and if that’s good enough to be in the starting 11 then I’ll try and keep my place.
“There’s healthy competition here which is good because it keeps you on your toes and you need it. It’s a long season and people get injured and suspended so you need to make sure you’re ready to play.”