James Gray has seen first hand the attacking power the Cobblers possess - and he can’t wait to get stuck in and play his part.
Accrington Stanley striker Gray today signed on loan at Sixfields until the end of the season, and is set to go straight into the squad for Saturday’s trip to Plymouth Argyle.
The 22-year-old is joining a team that has been in tip-top form since the turn of the year, and now sit just three points outside the SkyBet League Two promotion play-off places.
Gray has already been on the wrong end of Town’s attacking threat this season, as he was in the Stanley team thrashed 5-1 at the Crown Ground at the end of January.
“Northampton are top of the form guide at the moment, and the last time I played for Accrington was when they won 5-1,” said Gray.
“So I have played against a lot of the players in previous seasons, and it is a really strong squad. I am very happy to be here.”
Asked if the hammering at the hands of the Cobblers had left an impression on him, Gray said: “Yeah it did, especially when they went down to 10 men in the first half.
“That showed a lot of character to keep going, and we literally couldn’t break them down or get another goal. The team certainly have a lot of attacking options up the field.”
The Northern Ireland Under-21 international has been brought in to the bolster the Cobblers’ forward options, with doubts surrounding the fitness of Cobblers top scorer Marc Richards who on Thursday underwent a scan on an Achilles problem.
Gray was a second-half substitute as Accrington were swept aside by the Cobblers on January 31, and that was the last time he turned out for John Coleman’s men.
He has been overlooked and sidelined ever since, and Gray feels that inactivity will be an advantage for him as he tries to shine at Sixfields.
“I am feeling fresh as I haven’t got as many games in at Accrington as I would have liked to,” said Gray, who in 2011 failed to score in a nine-match spell at the Cobblers’ county rivals Kettering Town.
“But I am feeling good and looking forward to the new challenge here at Northampton. I am happy to have an opportunity to impress.”
Gray, who has scored 14 times in 44 starts and 32 substitute appearances for Stanley, was told of the Cobblers’ interest on Thursday morning.
He was in Northampton that same evening, and on Friday morning was at Sixfields bright and early to sign on.
He is joining a squad of players he admits he doesn’t know, but he does have one connection to a Cobblers player that might cause some amusement in the Towwn camp as they head for Devon and that clash with Plymouth.
Gray is the son of former Northern Ireland international Phil Gray, and he revealed: “My dad played with Chris Hackett when he was at Oxford - so that will make him feel old!”
Gray joins the Cobblers just three weeks after he had a loan switch to Conference Premier side Southport cancelled following just one training session.
The front man had agreed a move to Southport until the the end of the season on February 12, but changed his mind after that single session, and decided to return to Accrington.