Aidy Boothroyd has revealed centre-back David Artell is keen to leave the Cobblers this summer.
Artell was an unused substitute in Town’s final two pre-season games, Saturday’s win over a Stoke City development squad and Tuesday’s success against Leicester City.
With captain Kelvin Langmead injured, Ben Tozer and Lee Collins look likely to occupy the central defensive berths in the Sky Bet League Two curtain-raiser at York City on Saturday (ko 3pm).
And though Boothroyd says Artell remains part of his thinking for that game, he admits the former Crewe captain is eager to exit Cobblers.
“Dave is wanting to get back up north,” said Boothroyd.
“He came last year, he’s been unfortunate with injuries, he’s got himself fit and we’ve got to a stage now where it would suit both parties if Dave went back and played up north, for family reasons.
“But he’s a terrific professional and at this stage he’s on the bench and ready, so if he’s called upon he’ll be there.
“I’ve not had a minute’s problem with him, he’s a good professional. He’ll come into the team, but at this stage I just think we might need to be looking elsewhere.
“Having said that, I’m not one that’s rigid in his thinking. I might wake up Thursday morning and think ‘let’s give him a go, let’s play him’.
“(York striker Richard) Cresswell is going to be a different animal compared to a (Jeffrey) Schlupp or a (Chris) Wood, who we faced on Tuesday. It’s a different league and it’s a different requirement to defend properly.”
Boothroyd today paved the way for Artell to move north with the non-contract signing of former Leeds and Colchester defender Matt Heath, but he has also confirmed he will not be trying to sign Michael Spillane, who played for Town as a trialist in Tuesday’s friendly win over Leicester City.
“I won’t be taking Michael Spillane,” said the Cobblers boss.
“I think he’s an excellent player but quite similar to Ben Tozer.
“If I didn’t have a Ben Tozer I’d snap him up without question and I’m just amazed that a player of his ability hasn’t got a club yet.”