Early promotion an advantage as Cobblers boss Wilder prepares for next season
Boss Chris Wilder admits that clinching promotion so early is a real advantage for the Cobblers as he continues his recruitment for next season's league one campaign.
Town sealed promotion with five games of the regular season to spare, and the title with four games remaining, and Wilder says the fact the Cobblers already know what division they are going to be in come August gives them the edge over their rivals.
It looks likely that aside from the Cobblers, the Sky Bet League Two promotion race is going to go down to the wire, meaning the likes of Accrington, Oxford United, Plymouth Argyle and Bristol Rovers probably won’t know if they are going up into league one until at least May 7.
If they miss out and end up in the play-offs, the winners of that competition won’t know if they will be promoted until May 30 - which is still five weeks away.
Wilder is already planning for the new campaign, although he has also made it clear the Cobblers will not be throwing money around just because they have gone up a division, and that he will again be aiming to ‘get value for money’.
“It is enjoyable to be promoted so early, and we will focus on the games we have got left to play and enjoy the spectator sport of watching other teams fight it out in the final games,” said the Cobblers boss.
“We actually started planning quite a way back, with the contracts for Lawson D’Ath, Sam Hoskins and Rodders (Rod McDonald).
“There are some players that have got a year left on their contract to maybe extend, and there is also the recruitment, which I think we excelled with this season.
“We brought a really good group of players to the football club within a competitive budget, and we did well with that.
“That will be the case for next season as well, we are not going to blow people out of the water with money.
“We will do what we do and try and get value for money as we always do, but we are a club on the up.
“If the budget is better, it gives you the opportunity to go and get better players, of course it does, but it doesn’t guarantee anything.
“We have to make sure we get that right and I should imagine that will be my biggest job, and the coaching staff’s biggest job, to make sure we recruit well in the summer for next season.
“But getting promoted early does give us a little bit of an advantage in that area as well.”
The bulk of the current Cobblers squad is already under contract for next season.
The players whose deals run out this summer are Danny Rose, Josh Lelan and Paul Corry, who has missed the whole season through injury, as well as Chris Hackett and Evan Horwood who are out on loan at Barnet and Grimsby Town respectively.
The standout name in that group is Rose, who has been a key man since he signed from Oxford on a short-term deal in January, and Wilder hinted he is a player they will be looking to tie down for next season.
“There are lads right the way through the group that have done fantastic, and I think Danny has been outstanding, he has done extremely well,” said the Cobblers boss.
“The last two or three games he has come into the team, and he is somebody we will most probably have a discussion about.”