Wilder hails his keepers as the best in the league

Adam Smith in action on his Cobblers debut against Bristol Rovers last week. Picture by Sharon Lucey

Adam Smith in action on his Cobblers debut against Bristol Rovers last week. Picture by Sharon Lucey

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Cobblers boss Chris Wilder believes he has the best two goalkeepers in League Two following Adam Smith’s excellent start to his Northampton career.

Both Smith and Ryan Clarke were brought in by Wilder over the summer and the two have impressed during their short time at Sixfields.

Former Leicester man Smith has vindicated Wilder’s decision to give him the number one jersey with two near-flawless performances against Bristol Rovers and Exeter City, while Clarke also kept a clean sheet when he was given the nod in Northampton’s Capital One Cup tie against Blackpool last Tuesday.

“I personally think we have the best two goalkeepers in our division,” said Wilder following his side’s 3-0 win over Exeter.

“Smith was the different for us today and he’s been outstanding.

“We made the decision to go with Ryan on Tuesday and he was also outstanding.

Ryan Clarke during a pre-season friendly against Birmingham

Ryan Clarke during a pre-season friendly against Birmingham

“They’re both driving each other on and I think Ryan would have made those saves today but Adam has been absolutely outstanding so that’s good competition that we’ve got here.

“The way we play means we want to get after the ball and get high up the pitch. We want the centre halves to squeeze and get up to the halfway line.

“People talk about pace in behind but the problem for us today was that the gaps were too big between the back four and midfield four so we had to work ourselves a little bit harder up the pitch as a back four.

“We know that when the ball goes over the top, we play with Adam or Ryan as a sweeper and they start high, which Adam did in the first half against Exeter to great effect.

“We expect them to do that and overall both goalkeepers are outstanding and are great acquisitions for the football club going forward.”

Wilder also spoke about Northampton’s Capital One Cup second round tie against Newcastle.

“It’s a great reward for the players and the supporters,” he added. “It’s a long way to go but hopefully we’ll take a few up the road.

“Financially it’s a real good tie for the football club and it’s good for the players to go and sample what Premier League clubs and what Premier League grounds are like.

“I’m not expecting it to be full but it’ll be a great atmosphere and a real good reward for an outstanding performance on Tuesday night against Blackpool.”