Boothroyd says transfer speculation may have distracted Akinfenwa

Adebayo Akinfenwa
Adebayo Akinfenwa

Aidy Boothroyd admits leading goalscorer Adebayo Akinfenwa has ‘possibly’ been distracted by January transfer speculation linking him with a move away from the Cobblers.

Akinfenwa was a transfer target for Gillingham during the window but their offer was deemed unacceptable by the powers-that-be at Sixfields.

The Gills public interest in the player has coincided with a loss in form - the striker’s last goal in open play was against Burton on January 19, and although he has scored two penalties since then, they are his only goals in the space of 13 games.

Prior to January, Akinfenwa had scored 17 goals and he should at least reach last year’s personal best of 18 in a season, and could still break the 20-goal barrier for the campaign.

But while he has been going through something of a dry spell, Boothroyd is happy with the forward’s general play and the fact he is getting into positions where he could score.

“He was possibly distracted by what happened in January,” said Boothroyd. “To say he wasn’t would be daft really, because things like that can unsettle players.

“But if he keeps doing what he’s been doing he will score goals.

“The most important thing for strikers is that they are in goalscoring positions, and Bayo is getting in those positions for us at the moment. I would be more concerned if he wasn’t getting in those areas.

“Strikers tend to score goals in batches and he has always done that in the past so if he gets 10 between now and the end of the season I’ll be happy.”

Boothroyd faces a choice between Akinfenwa and the fit-again Clive Platt to lead his line at Bradford City on Saturday, with Roy O’Donovan a likely starter for the third game in succession.

The Irishman offers a more energetic option to the two more powerful strikers, and Boothroyd has been full of praise for his performances so far.

“Roy is a fantastic foil for any striker,” he said. “He’s strong, he’s tenacious and he unsettles defences with his movement and his running.

“He’s another one that we’ve brought in to get him going a bit and if he keeps playing the way he has been he will score lots of goals for this club.”