Hasselbaink ambition persuaded O’Donnell to make Cobblers switch

SETTLING IN - Richard O'Donnell has joined the Cobblers on a two-and-a-half-year contract (Picture: Pete Norton)
SETTLING IN - Richard O'Donnell has joined the Cobblers on a two-and-a-half-year contract (Picture: Pete Norton)
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Goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell says it was the ambition of Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink that persuaded him his future lies at Sixfields.

The 29-year-old has joined Town on a free transfer from Sky Bet League One rivals Rotherham United, and has put pen to paper on a two-and-a-half year contract.

Richard O'Donnell

Richard O'Donnell

O’Donnell says wasn’t actively looking to leave the New York Stadium - he believed he would have regained the number one jersey from Slovakian Marek Rodak - but that once he had spoken to Hasselbaink, then making the switch to the Cobblers was a ‘no brainer’.

On the face of it, leaving the promotion-chasing Millers to move to relegation-threatened Town might seem a backward step, but O’Donnell doesn’t see it that way.

So, how did the move come about?

“I found out about it early last week,” said O’Donnell “I came down and met the manager, and then I did my medical and stuff on Friday, but it was too late to be involved at the weekend.

I found myself not playing, and the manager here showed such ambition, went all out and pulled out all the stops to get me here, and that swayed my mind

Cobblers goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell

“It was just a phone call, then I spoke to the manager and Jim (Hollman) the goalkeeping coach, and I was impressed with what everybody had to say, and the way they want to go.

“I wasn’t looking to leave Rotherham, because I always felt I would get back in the team.

“But I found myself not playing at the time, and the manager here showed such ambition, went all out and pulled out all the stops to get me here, and that swayed my mind.

“The way he wants to move the club forward really made me want to be a part of it.

“It was only the end of last season that I was playing in the Championship (for Rotherham), and that’s where I think the gaffer has his ambitions, and that matches my ambition too.

“That was a big part of me coming here.”

O’Donnell is training with his new team-mates for the first time this week.

He is impressed by the quality of the squad, says the team is in a ‘false position’, and believes that with the additions still to be made, Town will soon be heading in the right direction.

“With the group of lads here, on paper it is a good team and I feel they are in a false position,” said O’Donnell, who was on the bench for Rotherham’s 1-0 win over the Cobblers in September.

“Obviously the league table doesn’t lie, but you can see with the players that the manager is bringing in in January that they are having a good go.

“They want to obviously stay out of trouble this season first and foremost, and then crack on for next season.

“The manager talked me through the players he wants to sign, and the players he has already signed, and where he wants to move the football club in the next few years. That is what really brought me here.”