Selecting 11 players for Saturday’s opening game of the season against Walsall will cause a few headaches for Town manager Keith Curle, especially on the back of capturing Scott Wharton.
The 21-year-old defender has a burgeoning reputation after impressing at Lincoln City and Bury last season, helping both teams clinch promotion to League One.
He’s a young man, he’s got good defensive attributes, he’s a winner, he likes to compete, he can handle a football and he’s got a good range of passing.
He’s also admired at parent club Blackburn Rovers, signing a new three-year contract at Ewood Park just prior to confirmation of his season-long loan deal to the Cobblers on Friday.
With Jordan Turnbull one of Northampton’s standout performers last season, Charlie Goode recently made captain and teenager Jay Williams continuing to develop, Curle has some tough decisions to make.
But he’s long since been an admirer of Wharton and believes the young centre-back will bring some important qualities to Town’s defence.
“He’s a young man and he’s got good defensive attributes,” said Curle. “He’s a winner, he likes to compete, he can handle a football and he’s got a good range of passing.
“But ultimately he’s come in because of his defensive attributes. He’s assured with the ball and he makes good decisions.”
Wharton would have signed for the Cobblers much earlier in the summer had Curle got his way, but due to events out of his control, he was made to wait.
“He’s been a player that I’ve been chasing,” said the Town manager. “He was made available and we’ve had good conversations with the manager and assistant manager at Blackburn.
“There was a period of time when he wasn’t available because they had injuries and he travelled to Austria on their pre-season tour so we had to wait, but there’s been continued conversations with the club and with the management team there.
“It was just a case of waiting. It was like a domino effect and we needed to be ready.
“Players came back to fitness at Blackburn and he was made available and the pleasing thing is because of those communications that were done early in the summer they knew we wanted the lad.
“We showed the interest early and that made it easier because everybody wants to feel wanted, don’t they?”