Aidy Boothroyd admits he faces some stiff competition from rival clubs for the players he wants to sign for the Cobblers this summer.
And the Northampton manager feels the traditional month of close-season transfer activity is likely to be condensed into a fortnight of ‘mad rush’ as the start of the npower League Two campaign draws near.
Just 11 weeks will pass between the team’s final game of last season - the dismal play-off final defeat to Bradford on May 18 - and the 2013-14 curtain-raiser on August 3.
The squad have had just five weeks off, that being the amount of time that will have passed from the Wembley game to the first day of pre-season training on June 28.
It is thought the late conclusion of last season has not affected Boothroyd’s recruitment plans greatly, because his targets are ones that are in demand and likely to wait until the right time to agree the best offer.
“With the very best players, they generally get touted very quickly, and the ones that we’ve been in for have all had other offers elsewhere,” he said.
“But what I think is going to happen this year is that there are a lot of people that want to do things a bit quicker because pre-season starts, for us anyway, on June 28.
“There’s generally four or five weeks in which the business is done but this year I think there will be two-and-a-half weeks of mad rush and then a little bit more at the end of August as well, like there usually is.
“Everyone is just jockeying for position at the moment.”
Boothroyd is in a strong position this summer in terms of his budget, which has been lightened by the departures of several high-earning players that he did not sign.
But he still has constraints, and is acutely aware of the need to guard against paying over the odds for players who have had good recent seasons and are inflating their demands as a result.
“There is a bit of that, and we don’t have any games in the summer so any money that comes into the club comes directly from the chairman’s pocket,” he said.
“So we have to think about that. If we can manage to get the right deals done for the right players, and with the June 18 deadline that gives me a week to find out who wants to do what, then hopefully I’ll be in a position in pre-season to tell the chairman who we’ve got and who we want to get.
“Then we go into pre-season training and battle from there.”