Jefferson Lake’s view: Town need to keep hold of big guns


Although the first few days of the January transfer window felt something like an exercise in clearing the decks there is little to suggest the Cobblers are about to embark on a mass recruitment campaign this month.

Arguably, they don’t need to.

Luke Guttridge and David Artell, who will both return to fitness this month, have more than 900 senior appearances between them and John Johnson is the club’s longest-serving player.

It is one of the most predictable cliches in football but to get those three players back at this point of the season will feel like a trio of new signings for manager Aidy Boothroyd.

The return of the triumvirate negates any need for new arrivals and, except for the possible exit of Paul Turnbull, who seems to be out of favour despite being on the bench on New Year’s Day, the club does not need to move anyone on either.

In fact the key element of this year’s transfer window might be holding onto one or two of the club’s higher-achieving players.

Taking the five best-performing members of the squad over the first half of the season, three should be fairly securely under wraps at the club and two slightly less so.

Kelvin Langmead and Chris Hackett are excellent contributors but are protected by the fact that one is a centre-half (for whom demand during the panic of the transfer window is rarely high) and one is firmly under contractual wraps until the summer of 2014.

Lee Nicholls is on loan from Wigan Athletic until the end of the season and that should provide some security and stability there.

Lewis Hornby, however, remains on a scholar’s deal and although he has been offered professional terms, he is regularly being scouted by other clubs and there would be no shortage of managers willing to take a punt on a 17-year-old who is getting better with every game.

But the jewel in the crown is Adebayo Akinfenwa.

No bids have been made at this time but it is ludicrous to think there will be no interest at all in someone who has got 14 goals this season and six months left on his contract.

Last year the transfer window provided the opportunity for Boothroyd to introduce some much needed new blood to the playing side, and those that arrived in January made substantial contributions to the ultimately successful fight against relegation.

This time around, it represents little more than an unwelcome distraction, a platform for idle gossip and a distraction from the main target of promotion.

If Northampton can come through it with their big players still on the payroll, they stand a good chance of being involved in a top-seven shake-up.

If not, it will be another test of Boothroyd’s wheeler-dealer attributes in a January transfer window.