Aidy Boothroyd says he fully understands the out-of-contract Cobblers players’ policy of negotiating their offers at Sixfields.
Ben Tozer became the third player - following Kelvin Langmead and Lee Collins - to commit to a contract extension at Town this week, penning a fresh two-year deal at the club.
But four more players are as yet undecided on the proposals made to them by Boothroyd.
Defender Nathan Cameron, midfielders Ben Harding and Luke Guttridge, and forward Roy O’Donovan have all held meetings with Boothroyd this week and they have all made it clear they wish to remain at the club.
Boothroyd, too, wants to keep them - hence the contract offers - but admits a game of ‘cat and mouse’ is currently being played around the Sixfields negotiating table.
“I’m very pleased to get Ben (Tozer) signed and it’s taking it’s time with the other boys but it’s a bit of a game of cat and mouse,” he said. “We want to get the best deal we can for the club and they want to get the best deal for them as well.
“Generally I’m in the middle of it all and trying to please both parties to make sure the players are motivated when they come back.
“I should know on the other four by Tuesday of next week and that will impact on what we do next.
“They all want to be part of what we’re doing here because we’re on an upward curve but they also want the best deal for them, and I’ve got no problem with that at all.”
The number of players committed for next season currently stands at 13, although that is a figure inflated by the inclusion of first-year professionals David Moyo, Claudio Dias and Dean Snedker, and Alex Nicholls, who is not expected to return to fitness until November at the earliest.
Boothroyd is working to a rough deadline of Tuesday (June 25) for decisions from the quartet currently negotiating their offers, and hopes to have the bulk of his transfer dealings done when the players return on Friday (June 28) for a round of fitness testing.
“Hopefully by the time we come back on the 28th (June) I will have three-quarters or 80 per cent of the squad in place,” he said.
“That will be a much better position than we were last season, there was a bit of ducking and diving last year to get the squad in place that I wanted.
“I don’t think that was a hindrance, it was more a case of being patient. We did a lot of work with the lads who were here from the previous year and that greatly helped them.
“I’m talking about lads like Ben Tozer and Kelvin Langmead, who played a full season, as opposed to those that came in later.
“It can go both ways but you want to get that work in and get everyone in, knowing what they’re doing, so that you can get the best possible start.”