Cobblers boss Rob Page admits he is ‘looking forward to January’ and adding the ‘quality’ players he feels with strengthen his squad for the second half of the season.
Due to new rules introduced this season, for the first time clubs have been unable to bring in short-term loans inbetween transfer windows meaning managers have had to work with the squads they have in place.
That means there has been no short-term fix when key players have been injured or suspended, no freshesning things up with a new face, and it has been a challenge for Page and all Football League managers, who have had to carry bigger squads than they normally would.
Page was pleased with his recruitment work last summer, which saw him ensure there were two players for every position, but the size of the squad has led to several players being starved of game time, and there is set to be movement in and out of Sixfields when the January transfer window opens.
Town have endured a difficult run in the past six weeks and have lost six in seven in all competitions.
But the team is still handily placed in 15th in Sky Bet League One and six points clear of the relegation zone, and Page is confident that, despite the slump in form, he and head of recruitment Andy Melville will be able to bring in the players they need to improve the squad.
“From a selfish point of view, we want to be in the play-off positions of course we do, and it’s only the past couple of weeks we have dropped out of that,” said the Town boss.
“People know the ambition of the football club, and that is why we have got the likes of Matty Taylor, Alex Revell, Gaby Zakuani. We brought them into this football club because they knew where this club wanted to go.
“We are having a blip at the minute, it is not the end of the world, we are having a dip and are working hard to put it right.
“To attract those similar type of players again, our attitude hasn’t changed since the summer. We are still a club that’s very, very ambitious.
“Have we slightly overachieved in the first part of the season and raised expectations? Yeah, probably.
“There was expectation from last season coming into the new season, and I think we enhanced that with the start we had, being unbeaten in the first 11.
“So the expectation was ‘yes, we can hold our own in this division’, and now we are having a blip.
“With regards to attracting the players, that won’t change.
“We are looking forward to January coming, and we want to add quality that will hopefully come and improve us.”
Before the window opens though, the Cobblers have the little matter of away trips to Oxford United on Boxing Day and then to Sheffield United on New Year’s Eve.
They are games Town can’t really afford to lose, and Page admitted he and his players are desperate to turn things around.
“We will keep working hard, and everybody is hurting at the minute because results aren’t going for us,” said Page.
“We are all hurting, myself included, and the players and supporters and I understand and get that.
“But we are doing everything we possibly can to put it right.”