Chris Wilder admits he had to make a ‘judgement call’ on signing goalkeeper Adam Smith, who was sacked by Leicester City for his role in a sex-tape scandal.
The Cobblers boss says he is ‘comfortable’ with the decision to bring the 22-year-old to Sixfields, and that he now wants the player to do his talking on the pitch.
Wilder has made controversial signings in the past, signing both Luke McCormick and Adam Chapman for Oxford United on their release from prison after serving sentences for causing death by dangerous driving.
He is a believer in giving people ‘a second chance’, and feels that Smith deserves the opportunity to continue his career.
The player has been punished by being sacked by a Premier League football club, not to mention the very public shaming he has gone through, and Wilder said: “I think you have to go through all the details of what has happened.
“I have been a manager for quite a while now, so I have had certain situations in my managerial career that I have had to deal with.
“They are not always straightforward situations, these things happen, and you have to make a judgement call.
“We have done that, through the chairman as well, and we have talked about it and come to a decision.
“It’s a decision that’s not been taken lightly, but I have spoken to the player and we are comfortable now that we can move on.”
Smith arrives at Sixfields having spent more than four years at Leicester, who he joined after his academy years at Middlesbrough.
He failed to make a first team appearance for the Foxes, but was a regular in their Under-21 team, and has enjoyed loan spells at Nuneaton, Cambridge United and Mansfield Town.
Smith is highly rated, and Wilder is hoping he can get his career really moving at Northampton, while admitting it is going to take time for the black mark against the player to be washed away.
“The boy needs to now get going and do his talking on the football pitch,” said Wilder.
“We have an outstanding young goalkeeper that definitely improves us in that department (from last season), and we are still trying to add another one.
“If Adam comes and gets his head down and works hard, as I am sure he will do. then he will be battling for the first team shirt and he has to be judged on that.
“That is no disregarding or taking away anything from what has happened, because that is going to stick with him for a very, very long time, but he has to get over it.
“The boy is very, very disappointed with what he has done, he’s not walking around jumping through hoops about it.
“He has been sacked at a Premier League football club, but we move on.
“There is a second chance for everybody, he now has his and he has to grab it.”