Midfielder McCourt determined to keep his Cobblers place after Bolton outing

BACK IN THE ACTION: Jak McCourt made his first start under Justin Edinburgh on Saturday. Pictures: Sharon Lucey
BACK IN THE ACTION: Jak McCourt made his first start under Justin Edinburgh on Saturday. Pictures: Sharon Lucey
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Midfielder Jak McCourt is eyeing more regular game-time for the Cobblers after Saturday’s appearance against Bolton Wanderers marked his first start of 2017.

A regular under previous boss Rob Page, McCourt has struggled to break into the team since Justin Edinburgh’s appointment in January, making only five substitute appearances prior to Saturday’s trip to the Macron.

Adam Le Fondre scored from the spot after a controversial handball against Matty Taylor

Adam Le Fondre scored from the spot after a controversial handball against Matty Taylor

But having made his first start since December 17 against promotion-chasing Bolton, the tough-tackling midfielder is now hoping he can became a regular fixture in Edinburgh’s side.

“I’m delighted to be back in the team and that’s what you’re going to get from me,” he said after the 2-1 defeat.

“You’ll get a hard-working player and I’m just happy to be back and now I want to stay in the team.

“We’ve all put 100 per cent in and put our bodies on the line but it’s a really tough one for us.”

Filipe Morais scores Bolton's winner

Filipe Morais scores Bolton's winner

McCourt was part of a spirited and impressive performance at the Macron as Northampton came mighty close to upsetting the high-flying Trotters.

Michael Smith volleyed them ahead on 56 minutes but a controversial penalty, awarded for handball against Matty Taylor, brought Bolton level before Filipe Morais’s emphatic winner eight minutes from full-time stole the spoils.

“It was a tough one to take and we’re disappointed not to get all three points, let alone a draw, but the decisions just didn’t go our way,” admitted a despondent McCourt.

“Bolton are in good form but we are really disappointed because the fans came out in force and showed how hard we worked by the applause they gave us at the end.”

Edinburgh was quick to express his frustrations with referee Richard Clark at full-time on Saturday for two key decisions that went against his side, and McCourt felt equally aggrieved.

“It’s a really harsh call to be honest,” he said on the decision to penalise Taylor for an apparent handball. “I’m 100 per cent it wasn’t a handball but you get those decisions go against you.

“We couldn’t see the game through and there was a couple of other decisions as well that didn’t go our way and now we want to put things right.”

There were still plenty of positives to take out of Saturday’s game, despite the result, after the Cobblers matched second-placed Bolton for long periods, only denied a major scalp by a match-defining six-minute spell.

“We think we can match anyone in this league,” added McCourt.

“We did that against Bolton for 80 minutes of the game but then the decision went against us and after that we sat back and tried to soak up the pressure.

“The pressure seemed to pay off them and we are disappointed but it was a good shift from the lads and we need to put things right this week.”