Cobblers boss Dean Austin has confirmed he won’t be going down the road of flooding his squad with loan players next season.
In the past two seasons, Town have ended up relying on loan players, so much so that they had more than the maximum five that are allowed in a match day squad.
The reason for the surplus of loan signings was deals in the January transfer window by both Justin Edinburgh and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, as they both tried to freshen up struggling squads.
In the 2016/17, Town had six loan players on the books in the second half of the season in Lewin Nyatanga, Gregg Wylde, Hiram Boateng, Michael Smith, Keshi Anderson and Luke Williams.
Prior to Christmas, Rob Page had also brought in Kenji Gorre and JJ Hooper, before letting them return to their parent clubs.
It was a similar story the season that has just finished, with Town’s squad after January including Regan Poole, Chris Long, Matt Grimes, Hildeberto Pereira, Gboly Ariyibi and Boris Mathis, with goalkeeper Matt Ingram on the books before the turn of the year.
And although Austin isn’t ruling out utilising the loan market as he sets about preparing for the Sky Bet League Two campaign that starts in August, he admits he would prefer to use the players he already has at his disposal.
This week’s double signing of youth teamers Morgan Roberts and Sean Whaler has bumped the contracted players already at the club up to 25.
It seems the ideal time to end the loan culture that has, in some people’s eyes, blighted the club’s progress in recent seasons, and Austin agrees with that.
To a point.
“Listen, if there is a player, or two players, that potentially can help us achieve what our goal is, which is to win matches, then I am not going to say we are not going to take loan players,” said the Cobblers boss.
“Ideally, I would like to use our own players, and I wouldn’t really want any more than two or three loan players.
“It’s all about the integration, and trying to integrate them into the squad.
“When you are doing loans for maybe four months, three months, or what have you.
“You have to sometimes be lucky with regards to getting them bedded into the squad very quickly, and them being comfortable with the environment, getting on with their team-mates, and this, that and the other.
“So while I am not averse to loan players, and I signed many loan players when I have done the recruitment side, I think we have enough here at the moment that we can work from within.
“But, you never say never.”