Caretaker manager Dean Austin has not ruled out the possibility of taking the job on a full-time basis at the end of the season, with his focus for now solely on trying to keep the Cobblers in League One.
Austin, alongside assistant Jon Brady, will lead the team for the rest of the season following the sacking of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink on Easter Monday.
After seventh months in charge, Hasselbaink was relieved from his duties on the back of Town’s 2-0 defeat at Peterborough United – their ninth straight game without victory – leaving his former assistant manager to take the reins for the final five games.
“Obviously it’s never easy when a manager loses his job, which Jimmy has and he’s a great man,” said Austin. “He’s a friend of mine. He brought me with him and I’m disappointed to see him leave.”
With Kelvin Thomas content to wait until the end of the campaign to appoint a permanent replacement for Hasselbaink, Austin has five games to audition for the role – providing he wants it.
The 47-year-old has never previously managed but he was part of the coaching team that took Watford to the Premier League in 2015 – his second stint at Vicarage Road – while he’s also worked as first team coach and U21 manager at Crystal Palace.
On whether or not he would want the full-time job at Sixfields, Austin said: “I think it’s one of those that, for all parties, we agreed to get to the end of the season and see what we can do.
“Let’s have a go and I’m definitely going to have a go, that’s for sure, and I think the players are up for having a go.
“Then we’ll get to the end of the season and it’ll be a time to reflect for everybody, not only the club but for myself.
“I reflect on my own performance every week or two because I want to improve myself and I’m disappointed we haven’t been able to do better in the period of time we’ve been here.
“We can have excuses and that but it’s by the by and I’m not going to shirk anything I can tell you that now – I’m a very very honest guy and if I don’t think I’ve been good enough I’ll hold my hands up and say I’ve not been good enough.
“But people won’t be able to turn around and say that it won’t be through a lack of trying or hard work or my team giving up.”