Boss Austin insists Cobblers are ready for the ‘bare knuckle stuff’

Daniel Powell in action during the Cobblers' 2-0 win over a Manchester United XI on Friday night (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Daniel Powell in action during the Cobblers' 2-0 win over a Manchester United XI on Friday night (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Boss Dean Austin insists the Cobblers are ready and totally prepared for the challenge they are going to face against Lincoln City on the opening day of the season.

Town completed their pre-season programme on Friday night with a 2-0 win over a young Manchester United XI, an opposition that offered a test that couldn’t be much further away from what the Red Imps are going to provide at the PTS Academy Stadium next Saturday.

The game we played on Friday will be nothing like the game we are going to be playing against Lincoln next Saturday, but we are ready

Cobblers boss Dean Austin

The Red Devils youngsters were neat in possession, kept the ball on the deck and passed it around probing for openings, while offering a minimal physical threat.

That is unlikely to be the way a well-drilled and experienced Lincoln side are likely to operate, especially as they boast a frontline that includes the likes of Matthew Rhead and John Akinde, players not shy in coming forward when it comes to the physical side of the game.

Lincoln have enjoyed great success under manager Danny Cowley over the past couple of years, and Town haven’t come up a team anything like them in their pre-season friendlies, but Austin says he and his players are going to be well prepared.

“I said to the boys on Friday, we have had a very, very good pre-season, we have had a very good five weeks, and the players, to a man, have given us absolutely everything, and a bit more,” said the Cobblers boss.

“But I have told them to enjoy their weekend and forget that now, because this week we come to the bare knuckle stuff.

“The game we played on Friday will be nothing like the game we are going to be playing against Lincoln next Saturday, but we are ready.

“I am fed up all these friendly games now.

“I just want to get into some proper stuff, and try and win some proper football matches.”

Town have a clear week of training now to get ready for the season opener, before the games start to come thick and fast, with Austin revealing he has pencilled in another match for next midweek.

Unusually, there is a free week following the opening fixture, and the Town boss is keen to give the players who won’t be involved against Lincoln some game time.

“After Saturday, we are going to have a game on the Tuesday that we are arranging, so that all of the players that don’t start on Saturday get some minutes,” said Austin, who has already said he hopes new signing Junior Morias will be fit to play in that one.

“Then we will get ready for the next game against Carlisle, and then we have the Carabao Cup (at Wycombe), so we have four games there that are still really part of the pre-season process in those first two weeks.”