Aidy Boothroyd’s forward recruitment this summer will be focused on signing players who can fulfil a number of roles and are not out-and-out strikers.
The Cobblers are in the market for new front men after allowing four to leave the club at the end of their contracts.
Leading goalscorer Adebayo Akinfenwa was released, along with Jake Robinson, Lewis Wilson and Louis Moult, leaving Clive Platt as the club’s only fit and available centre-forward.
Alex Nicholls, who broke his leg in a game against Port Vale in October, is not expected back until the autumn and an offer has been made to Roy O’Donovan, who scored six goals for Town after joining in January, one of which was the vital winning goal in the 1-0 play-off semi-final first-leg victory over Cheltenham.
O’Donovan played both as a traditional number nine and wide on the left, and that flexibility is an attribute Boothroyd will be looking for in any potential new recruits.
“What I’ve got in my mind is that what worked for us last year was that we had a tight squad but one that was high in quality,” said the Cobblers boss, who confirmed he has a list of ‘about 15’ strikers that interest him.
“I’ll be going down a similar route this year. The days of having players that can just play in one position are gone.
“I’d rather we had quality and kept everyone fit, and we’ll be looking at players that can play a number of positions.
“So you might have a guy that can play wide or up front, or someone who can play off the front.
“I’m looking at two or three players who fit that criteria and who have had experience of playing different positions.”
Permanent signings are the preference for Boothroyd, who views loan players as short-term solutions at best.
But he did enjoy substantial success in that department last season with the deal that brought Lee Nicholls to the club for the full campaign, and that lesson could lead to a more rigorous exploration of the loan market.
“If we can’t get them on permanent signings then there are a couple of lads we could look at getting in on loan,” he said.
“A season-long loan would be ideal. Lee turned out to be terrific for us but sometimes loan players can bite you a little bit.
“We did use them at various points last season; Emyr Huws came in and did a good job for us for a couple of months until Luke Guttridge got fit, which he did, and then away we went.”