Cobblers boss Justin Edinburgh has laid his hands on the latest piece of his squad-building jigsaw ahead of the new Sky Bet League One season with the signing of Leon Barnett from Bury.
The 31-year-old becomes the first central defender to commit to the Cobblers for the new campaign, and the player is looking forward to what he sees as a new challenge, with an ambitious club.
Barnett signed a two-year deal at Sixfields on Wednesday, and said: “I think this is a team going forward, and I enjoyed playing in league one last season.
“I found it quite tough playing against Northampton (for Bury) last season, and this is where I want to be.”
Edinburgh spoke of Barnett being a ‘leader’ and a ‘dominant’ player, and the former West Brom, Norwich City and Wigan Athletic man is promising Cobblers fans he will try and live up to those billings.
“I think the manager is trying to bring in more experience at the back, and bring a physical presence, and hopefully I can bring that to the team and help them push up the table,” said Barnett.
“I won’t be dashing forward with the ball, that’s for sure. I will just try and defend, because that is what I am here to do. I am here to defend, keep clean sheets.
“I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself, but as a defender you take pride in keeping clean sheets and that is what I am at the club to do.
“This is another challenge for me.”
Barnett is the first central defender Edinburgh has signed as he sets about replacing Zander Diamond, Gaby Zakuani, Lewin Nyatanga and Rod McDonald, who have all left the club.
He didn’t meet up with Edinburgh ahead of signing for the Cobblers, but did touch base with two other key men at Sixfields, assistant manager Dave Kerslake and striker Alex Revell.
Barnett worked under Kerslake and played with Revell when he spent two months on loan at Cardiff City in March and April, 2013.
“Alex Revell and Dave Kerslake are the only two that I know here, and they played a big part in this,” said Barnett.
“I spoke to both of them prior to coming here, and they just said nothing but good things about the place, which is a plus.
“I haven’t spoken to Justin Edinburgh as yet, but I am hoping to meet with him before we meet up for pre-season, and I look forward to that.”