Boss Justin Edinburgh believes new signing Billy Waters will bring ‘a different dimension’ to the Cobblers’ attacking play.
The 22-year-old was bought for an undisclosed fee from Cheltenham Town on Thursday, fresh from an eye-catching season at Whaddon Road that saw him score 16 goals and pick up four player of the year awards.
Edinburgh has described the Epsom-born player as somebody ‘who plays with his heart on his sleeve’, and feels his pace. energy, enthusiasm and ability will pep up an attack that at times struggled to fire in the closing weeks of the Sky Bet League One campaign.
Edinburgh attempted to shake up the Sixfields attacking department with varying degrees of success with the loan signings of Keshi Anderson, Gregg Wylde and Michael Smith, but knew he needed to bolster that area of the squad.
“I thought we were one dimensional last season,” said the Cobblers boss, who now has five strikers contracted for the new campaign, with Waters joining experienced campaigners Marc Richards and Alex Revell, and rookies Leon Lobjoit and Joe Iaciofano.
“Billy is a player that likes to play on the shoulder, he likes to be in and around the box, he is tenacious, and I am sure he will be nuisance to the opposition.
“Billy is a player that likes to play on the shoulder, he likes to be in and around the box, he is tenacious, and I am sure he will be nuisance to the opposition”Cobblers boss Justin Edinburgh
“We needed to have flexibility and a different dimension to the team and that’s what we are looking to do with the recruitment.”
Edinburgh also believes working with Richards and Revell can only be good for Waters, saying: “Billy can only learn of those two guys.
“I have always said they are fantastic players, and more importantly fantastic professionals, and Billy will be working alongside and competing with two top strikers.”
The signing of Waters is a bit of a coup for Edinburgh, with the player believed to be on the radar of several clubs after it became clear he was going to leave Cheltenham, where he was offered and declined a new contract.
The fact that the player has history with the Cobblers, having spent a lot of his childhood living in Silverstone and been at the club’s centre of excellence as an eight-year-old, undoubtedly played a part in him signing on at Sixfields.
But so did the fact that Edinburgh has been a long-time admirer.
“We have watched Billy over the past six months now, and every time we have reports back it has been exciting reports,” said the Town manager.
“He is one we have kept a close eye on, and obviously the chairman has backed it so that we can go and purchase Billy and bring him to the football club.”
Like another summer signing, George Smith, Waters has rebuilt his career by opting to play on non-League after suffering a career setback.
After being released by his first club Crewe Alexandra, where he had been since he was a schoolboy, Waters took the decision to join Gary Johnson’s Cheltenham following their relegation to the National League in 2015.
It proved to be a good move, as Waters helped the Robins to the title and promotion in his first season, and then to league two survival in his second.
Edinburgh has spoken of his desire to sign players with the right attitude and temperament, and Waters ticks all of those boxes.
“Billy has had to take a different route,” said the Cobblers boss.
“He was at Crewe as a kid but got released, but I like the mentality of a player that quickly rebounds back, and he has got himself into the Football League and scoring goals.
“I think he is a fantastic signing for us, and what he will bring is confidence. He has a real belief, and that is what struck me when I met him.”