Cheltenham’s former Cobblers striker Harrad relishing Sixfields return

SIXFIELDS RETURN - Shaun Harrad
SIXFIELDS RETURN - Shaun Harrad

Former Cobblers striker Shaun Harrad is looking forward to his Sixfields return on Thursday night and meeting up with a few old friends.

But the Cheltenham frontman is also confident he will dash the Cobblers’ Wembley and promotion dream over the two legs of the play-off semi-finals.

Harrad left Sixfields in the summer of 2011, as having been signed by Ian Sampson, he was shown the door by his replacement Gary Johnson.

It is still a spell that the former Bury man remembers fondly, and he says he is still in touch with a clutch of Cobblers players, but he has nothing but victory on his mind this week.

“I had six months there (at Northampton) and although we struggled towards the end of the season, there was a change of manager and we stayed up,” Harrad told the Gloucestershire Echo.

“The fans are good, it’s a well run club and there will be some friendly faces to see, but I am sure after we’ve won I can have a catch-up.

“I am quietly confident we can go there and be professional and get something on Thursday.”

One of the Town players Harrad still stays in contact with is Adebayo Akinfenwa, and Harrad says it is crucial the Robins keep him quiet if they are to progress beyond the semi-finals and a Wembley meeting with either Bradford City or Burton Albion.

Akinfenwa has scored more goals against Cheltenham than any other player in the Football League era, but is currently going through something of a drought, and Harrad said: “There are four or five lads still there from my time and Bayo is a friendly giant, but not on the pitch.

“I am sure there will be a few phone calls back and forth this week!

“His (Akinfenwa) record is decent against Cheltenham, but he’s been quiet recently and hopefully we can keep him quiet again and get a result.”

Harrad is currently a fringe player at Whaddon Road, having not started a game for three months.

But he got some action as a substitute in the 0-0 draw with Bradford City last weekend, and said: “It was an absolute joy just to be back out there and I have a smile back on my face.

“We didn’t get the result we wanted, but the boys can be proud of what they’ve done this season.

“I felt quite good on Saturday, but I do think Bradford having a man down showed a bit.

“I am the first in and the last out of training, but it’ll be a test for me now because it’s three months since I last started.

“I am ready when needed and I want to help the lads and add to the goals I already have.”

”These have been testing times for me, but the team have done well and that’s partly why I’ve been out of the side.

“But if I am needed I can come on, even for 20 or 30 minutes, and nick a goal and help us cross that line and be a League One side next season.”