Boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink says the Cobblers will ‘do everything in our power’ to extend Chris Long’s stay at Sixfields - but admits a permanent move in the January transfer window for the striker ‘is not going to happen’.
The Town manager also confirmed the club has targets to strengthen the striking department of the squad and have been ‘making offers’, but as yet they have not been able to get a deal for who they want over the line.
Burnley hitman Long is on a season-long loan with Town, and is the club’s current top scorer with eight goals, having netted five in his past eight appearances, including the winner in the past two games against Bradford City and Milton Keynes Dons.
Hasselbaink is a big fan of the 22-year-old Liverpudlian, whose contract with Burnley expires at the end of the current campaign, and says he wants to see him stay a Cobblers player beyond next summer.
But the Dutchman knows that is not going to be easy to achieve, despite his and the club’s efforts.
Asked about signing on the former England Under-20 international for a longer-term, the Town boss said: “It is going to be very difficult, but we are working hard behind the scenes to do that as we would like to keep players like him at the club.
We know that his contract is finishing at the end of the season with Burnley, and we are going to do everything in our power to keep him hereJimmy Floyd Hasselbaink on Chris Long
“I think they give the club a different dimension, people like Matt Grimes, and Longy is somebody we are really happy to have here.
“We know that his contract is finishing at the end of the season with Burnley, and we are going to do everything in our power to keep him here.”
Asked if there was a chance of Long leaving Burnley and signing a permanent deal before the window shuts next week, Hasselbaink admitted: “That’s not going to happen.”
The Cobblers manager has already signed seven new players since the turn of the year, with five leaving, but says he is still striving to strengthen the striking department of the squad, with Alex Revell the only real back-up to Long.
Asked about signing a new forward, Hasselbaink said: “We are looking, but it is not easy, because we want to improve and there is not a lot of availability.
“We want to make the squad better, so to do that it is not easy to bring somebody in.
“We are looking, we do have a few names and we are making offers to a few, but it is not easy in this window.
“I think we do need to strengthen in that area, and we are working hard to do so.”
Hasselbaink also confirmed that he is likely to make another loan signing ahead of the transfer window closing, meaning the club will have six loan players on the books, with only five allowed in a match day squad.
Town are aiming to claim their fourth straight win on Saturday when they travel to promotion-chasing Blackburn Rovers, and they do so with no fresh injury concerns.
The only players unavailable are long-term injured pair Aaron Pierre and Aaron Phillips.