Crooks says Cobblers players have ‘responded’ to ‘straight talker’ Austin

Matt Crooks says he has 'a huge amount of respect' for sacked Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
Matt Crooks says he has 'a huge amount of respect' for sacked Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

Midfielder Matt Crooks believes the Cobblers players have ‘responded’ to ‘straight talker’ Dean Austin following the sacking of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

Former Tottenham Hotspur defender Austin was handed the caretaker manager role at Sixfields until the end of the season following Hasselbaink’s dismissal last week, and takes charge of his first game at Blackpool on Tuesday night (ko 7.45pm).

It’s never nice when people lose their job but football is a ruthless business, and now we have Dean taking charge and we have to come together as a football club, the fans, staff and players alike, and just really go for it

Cobblers midfielder Matt Crooks

The Cobblers have just five matches remaining to secure the likely four wins needed to stave off relegation from Sky Bet League One, and Crooks is hoping a new manager lift can help them pull off what would be something of a miracle, even though Austin has been at the club for the past eight months as Hasselbaink’s assistant .

“Dean is a straight talker, which I think is the best way most of the time, to tell people what you think and what you want them to do,” said Crooks, when asked for his thoughts on the 47-year-old.

“He has a lot of football knowledge and he has a good way of putting it across, so hopefully that will bode well for the team.

“Sometimes it happens when a change of management comes, that there is a lift for some reason.

“There is a different vibe and a different outlook on things, and the lads have responded to the different challenges Dean has set us.”

Due to a free weekend, Austin has had to wait more than a week to take charge of Town for the first time, taking over from Hasselbaink after the Dutchman was dismissed in the wake of the 2-0 defeat at Peterborough United on Easter Monday.

That loss came quick on the heels of the embarrassing 4-0 Sixfields defeat to Charlton Athletic on Good Friday, and made it nine games without a win for the Cobblers.

The Posh loss was the final straw for chairman Kelvin Thomas, who for third time in the space of just 14 months was forced to sack a manager he had appointed only a matter of months before.

Crooks, who was signed by Justin Edinburgh from Rangers in the summer, says he felt for Hasselbaink, but that manager sackings are simply part of the ‘ruthless’ nature of football and that the club has ‘to come together’ for the final fixtures of the campaign.

“It is never nice to see somebody lose their job,” said Crooks of Hasselbaink.

“I have a huge amount of respect for Jimmy as a person, as a human being, and I did give him a quick message.

“As I said, it’s never nice when people lose a job but football is a ruthless business, and now we have Dean taking charge and we have to come together as a football club, the fans, staff and players alike, and just really go for it.

“I know there weren’t as many there as there normally is, but the fans that did go to Peterborough you could feel they were right behind us and we need that for the next five games.”