Cobblers’ semi-final goal hero Luke Guttridge is putting all new contract thoughts out of his mind until after tomorrow’s npower League Two play-off final against Bradford City at Wembley.
The diminutive midfielder’s deal at Sixfields runs out this summer, and he has yet to be told whether he will be offered a new one by Town boss Aidy Boothroyd.
The former Southend United and Cambridge United man is not alone in that particular boat, as many others, including the likes of Adebayo Akinfenwa, Kelvin Langmead, Jake Robinson, Roy O’Donovan and Lee Collins’ futures are also up in the air.
But Guttridge, who is sporting a couple of black eyes after breaking his nose in a training-match collision last Saturday, insists his uncertain future is an irrelevance as he gears up for one of the biggest matches in his career, and one of the biggest matches in the history of Northampton Town Football Club.
“I’m out of contract in the summer but I’m not fussed with any of that, what will be will be,” said Guttridge, who was one of the heroes of the semi-final second-leg win over Cheltenham at Whaddon Road thanks to his sensational winning goal.
“I just want to help get the club into league one and then we’ll take it from there.
“It hasn’t crossed my mind, I haven’t thought about my contract at all.
“The first objective when I came to the club was to help keep them in the Football League and the second one was to get promoted.”
That second objective is now within touching distance for Guttridge and his team-mates.
A win over Bradford would see a mixed season for Guttridge end on a massive high, and he admits he has a difficult past 10 months.
“It’s been a stop-start season,” he said.
“We set our standards at the start of the season and they were to finish in the automatic promotion places.
“When you’re aiming so high and then you just fizzle under it is a disappointment.
“Then I had the injury and I thought I recovered well from that but I found myself out of the team.
“I’ve had to work hard, bide my time and thankfully the manager gave me my chance – I like to think I’ve taken it.”
He has taken it in style, although the player himself admits that being constantly overlooked by boss Boothroyd did leave him questioning whether his Sixfields career was at a premature end.
When asked if he thought his Cobblers career was over when he couldn’t get back in the team, Guttridge admitted: “It did cross my mind.”
But instead his Town career has enjoyed a renaissance.
Following damaging defeats to Cheltenham, Bradford and York, Guttridge was re-introduced to the midfield fray for the 0-0 draw at Wycombe Wanderers and hasn’t looked back, scoring in the wins over Barnet and Cheltenham.
Indeed, the team have been on a five-match unbeaten run since he returned to the starting line-up.
Guttridge admits he wasn’t happy at being sidelined for so long, but is just happy that he is now getting his opportunity.
“If you don’t want to be in the team you shouldn’t be playing football,” he said.
“If you’re not in the starting 11 it should hurt, and it did hurt me.
“I could have sulked, I could have done a lot of things but I didn’t because that’s not my character.
“I did as much extra work as I could, I really put it in and and managed to force my way back into the side.”
Player interview: Jefferson Lake